Spain’s Basques form 202-Km Human Chain to Call for Independence Vote

Spain’s Basques form 202-Km Human Chain to Call for Independence Vote

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People join hands to form a 202 km (125 miles) long, according to organisers, human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao to call for a right to vote on Basque independence
People join hands to form a 202 km (125 miles) long, according to organisers, human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao to call for a right to vote on Basque independence, near Vitoria, Spain, June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent West

MADRID (Reuters) 

Tens of thousands of people from Spain’s Basque Country joined hands to form a human chain running some 202 kilometres (125 miles) on Sunday to call for the right to hold a regional independence vote

Spain’s Constitution, created in 1978 after the end of dictator Francisco Franco‘s regime, states that the country is indivisible and last-year’s attempt by Catalonia to hold a secession referendum was met with a harsh legal crackdown.

Former Prime Minister with the conservative People’s Party (PP) Mariano Rajoy, who has been roundly criticised for his handling of the Catalan crisis, was ousted by Socialist leader in a no confidence vote June 1.

 

People take part in a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao
People take part in a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao, calling for a right to vote on Basque independence, next to the word Independence, written on the road, near Vitoria, Spain, June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent West

 

Sanchez, who now heads the government following the vote, has called for renewed talks with the Catalan leadership.

While most from the Basque Country, which already has a high level of self-determination and, like Catalonia, has its own language and culture, do not support independence, many believe the population should be given the right to vote.

The human-chain protest was organised by Basque group Gure Esku Dago (In Our Own Hands) and ran from Donostia (also known as San Sebastian) to the Basque parliament in Gasteiz (Vitoria).

 

 

The Spanish government, backed by the constitutional court, maintains that any ballot on regional independence is illegal.

An Oct. 1 ballot on Catalonia’s separation from Spain and consequent unilateral declaration of independence by the regional government prompted Madrid to take control of the region and arrest the civil servants involved in the vote.

 

(Reporting by Miguel Gutierrez; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

 

People join hands to form a human chain calling for a right to vote on Basque independence in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
People join hands to form a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao, calling for a right to vote on Basque independence, in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, June 10, 2018. Over 100,000 people joined hands over the 202 km (125 miles) distance, according to organisers Gure Esku Dago (In Our Hands). REUTERS/Vincent West

 

People join hands to form a 202 km (125 miles) human chain calling for a right to vote on Basque independence
People join hands to form a 202 km (125 miles) long, according to organisers, human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao to call for a right to vote on Basque independence, near Vitoria, Spain, June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent West

 

People join hands to form a human chain calling for a right to vote on Basque independence in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
People join hands to form a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao, calling for a right to vote on Basque independence, in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, June 10, 2018. Over 100,000 people joined hands over the 202 km (125 miles) distance, according to organisers Gure Esku Dago (In Our Hands). REUTERS/Vincent West

 

People join hands to form a human chain calling for a right to vote on Basque independence in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
People join hands to form a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao, calling for a right to vote on Basque independence, in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, June 10, 2018. Over 100,000 people joined hands over the 202 km (125 miles) distance, according to organisers Gure Esku Dago (In Our Hands). REUTERS/Vincent West

 

People take part in a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao, calling for a right to vote on Basque independence, next to the word Independenc
People take part in a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao, calling for a right to vote on Basque independence, next to the word Independence, written on the road, near Vitoria, Spain, June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent West

 

People take part in a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao, calling for a right to vote on Basque independence, next to the word Independence
People take part in a human chain linking the cities of San Sebastian, Vitoria and Bilbao, calling for a right to vote on Basque independence, next to the word Independence, written on the road, near Vitoria, Spain, June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent West