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Basques Form 200-Kilometer Human Chain for Independence

A human chain made of 175,000 people stretched 200 kilometers (124 miles) Sunday in a display to demand an independence vote for the Basque region in northern Spain.

The demonstrators linked hands and stretched their chain from the coastal resort of San Sebastian to the Basque capital of Vitoria.

Some used white scarves as part of the chain while others sang and danced in place.

“We want for our people to have the right to choose what it wants to be,” one demonstrator said.

The president of the Basque parliament said the marchers are an “active and lively people” who want to make decisions in a democratic way.

Pro-independence forces hope their chances for a referendum have gone up since the armed Basque separatist group ETA announced last month it is disbanding after 50 years and more than 800 killings.

Basques already enjoy wide autonomy in northern Spain and parts of southern France. However, some say they will not be satisfied by anything less than full independence.

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