Catalans form vast human chain for independence from Spain
BARCELONA (AFP) - Catalans massed in a vast human chain stretching hundreds of kilometres along the Mediterranean coast on Wednesday, demanding independence from Spain in the face of fierce opposition from the national government.
Hundreds of thousands of people in yellow t-shirts joined in, according to organisers, yelling "Independence!" They linked hands and rose them in the air along highways and through towns in the north-eastern region, amid countless pro-independence flags bearing the red and yellow stripes of Catalonia overlaid with a white star on a blue background.
Proud of their Catalan language and culture, but suffering now in a recession, many of the 7.5 million people in debt-laden Catalonia say they feel short-changed by the central government which redistributes their taxes.
"We need to put an end to the cultural and economic suffocation we are suffering," said Carme Forcadell, president of the Catalan National Assembly, the grassroots group organising the human chain.