202-km human chain call for independence vote for Spain's Basque

Rafa Rivas  AFP  Getty Images

Nearly 200,000 people joined together Sunday in Spain's Basque Country to create a 202-kilometer (125-mile) human chain to make the case for having a vote on independence.

The Basque flag flies among those gathered at La Concha beach to demonstrate for independence as part of a 200-kilometre human chain.

The chain - which stretched for 125 miles - linked the cities of San Sebastian and Bilbao with Vitoria, the seat of the Basque parliament.

The protest was organized by the Basque group Gure Esku Dago (In Our Own Hands).

TRT World's Philip Owira reports.

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Bakartxo Tejeria, the president of Basque's regional parliament, added: "The demonstration proves that we are facing active and lively people who want to make decisions in a democratic way".

Gure Esku Dago previously organised similar events in 2014 and 2015 as it pressed for a referendum for further political freedoms for a region which already enjoys substantial political and cultural autonomy under the Spanish constitution - as does Catalonia on the other side of the Pyrenees.

Last month separatist group Eta, which had been fighting for Basque independence, formally announced it was disbanding, nearly exactly 50 years after claiming its first victim.

Article 2 of the Spanish Constitution refers to the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation", and an attempt to hold an independence vote in Catalonia previous year was met with a harsh crackdown with the central government taking over the running of the region's affairs.

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