Spain's Basques form 202-km human chain to call for independence vote

Spain's Basques form 202km human chain for Basque independence vote

But that's not good enough for thousands of people who want complete independence.

The organisers say it reached 202km (125 miles) and linked the cities of San Sebastian and Bilbao with Vitoria, the seat of the Basque parliament.

Support for outright Basque independence has fallen over the years.

It was organised by the Guru Esku Dago (In Our Own Hands) group as a peaceful call to the Spanish government to allow a vote on independence.

The Basque Country is one of Spain's most autonomous communites, with its own language and culture.

The event was also created to show support for Catalonia several of whose pro-independence leaders were jailed or else fled overseas in the aftermath of last year's referendum which Madrid said was unconstitutional.

Pro-independence forces in the Basque region are jockeying for greater influence now that armed Basque separatist group ETA, which killed more than 800 people in a five-decade campaign of violence, announced it was disbanding on May 3.

The courts have since detained politicians involved in the independence drive based on the constitutional clause that Spain is indivisible as a country.

While polls suggest that a vast majority of Basque people do not support full independence (only around 15 percent back total secession from Madrid), many nevertheless believe that the people should have the right to vote on the issue.

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