Basques form 123km-long human chain in protest

2014-06-08 19:02
(Rafa Rivas, AFP)

(Rafa Rivas, AFP)

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Madrid - More than 100 000 Basques formed a human chain in northern Spain Sunday in a protest for greater autonomy.

Rally organisers said the chain was 123km long, stretching from the town of Durango in Bilbao to Pamplona, the capital of the neighbouring region of Navarra.

Several Basque politicians and union leaders joined the protest, which was organised by an initiative called Gure Esku Dago (It Is in Your Hands).

It was similar to a rally in Catalonia in north-eastern Spain in September when a 400km-long human chain called The Catalan Way Towards Independence was formed.

In October, the Basque region of 2.2 million people held its first elections since the separatist group ETA ended a campaign of bombings and shootings that has claimed about 850 lives.

From 1968 to 2010, ETA was engaged in a bloody campaign to carve out an independent Basque state from parts of northern Spain and southern France.

But police crackdowns and dwindling support finally prompted the group to renounce violence in October 2011.

In 2005, the Spanish parliament rejected a plan for Basque independence.

The government in April rejected a proposal on plans for Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence from Spain.

Read more on:    spain

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