Hold hands with Catalonia


   By a Newsnet reporter

Catalonia has become well known for its large scale and imaginative demonstrations in favour of independence, last year over 1.5 million took to the streets of Barcelona on September 11 to celebrate Catalonia’s national day and to call for a Catalan state.

This year on September 11, known as La Diada in Catalonia, pro-independence activists hope to go one better by organising a human chain stretching the entire length of the country from the French border to the Ebro to express popular support for an independent Catalonia.

The Catalan event is inspired by the Baltic Way, an event held  in the Baltic States on August 23 1989, when 2 million Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians held hands in a human chain spanning over 600 kilometres (370 mi) from Tallinn to Vilnius to demand independence from the Soviet Union.  The human chain helped to publicise the cause of Baltic independence around the world, and symbolised solidarity amongst the Baltic peoples.

Organised by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC, Catalan National Assembly) the Catalan Way is already on course to attract sufficient support in order to cover the entire 250 mile distance without breaks in the chain.  The human chain will follow a route through 86 Catalan towns and villages, from El Penús on the French border in the north, to Alcanar, the most southernly town in Catalonia.

Carme Forcadell, president of the ANC, said that the Catalan Way will be “a symbol of the unity of Catalan people to achieve national sovereignty”, and a demonstration of the demand of the Catalan people to “vote for independence in a referendum as soon as possible.”

An ANC spokesperson added: “After three centuries, the Catalans have decided to be a free country. And we shall tell the world again on September 11th, thanks to the Catalan Way.”

Catalans living outside Catalonia, and those who sympathise with Catalan demands for self-determination will also be able to participate in a series of smaller scale human chains being organised in a number of cities around the world.  The newly formed branch of the ANC in Scotland, ANC-Scotland, is organising a human chain in Edinburgh on 25 August as a demonstration of solidarity with Catalan demands for independence. 

All Catalans resident in Scotland, and all those who wish to express solidarity with an independent Catalonia, are welcome to participate.  

Guillem Carles Santacana, one of the organisers of ANC-Scotland, said:

“The Catalan Way aims to show the world what the majority of Catalans want: to vote. Catalans will participate in the Catalan Way to recover their sovereignty, and constitute a new state in Europe.  Internationalisation of the process is very important, as Spain fails to recognise the human right for self-determination for the Catalan people.

“Thus, it is necessary that democratic peoples and states across Europe and the world be aware of the case.

“For this reason, the Catalan Way has also been internationalised and several small scale human chains are being organised at selected places around the world.  Edinburgh is one of those places: all Catalans and Scots wishing to demonstrate their support for an independent Catalonia are invited to participate in the International Catalan Way in Edinburgh on August 25.”

ANC-Scotland is a newly constituted organisation.  It plans its first meeting on August 17, membership is open to all Catalans resident in Scotland, and all resident in Scotland who support Catalan independence.  The group hopes to promote solidarity between Catalans and Scots as both countries seek to determine their futures.  if you would like to attend the first meeting of ANC-Scotland, would like to participate in the Edinburgh human chain, or would like more information, contact ANC-Scotland at scotland@catalanassembly.org

To register for participation in the human chain planned in Edinburgh, please visit the following link:  http://catalanassembly.org/inscripcio-viainternacional/

Alternatively attendees can simply show up on the day, however organisers ask as many as possible to register in advance in order to verify attendance numbers.

The Catalan Way, Scotland
Time: 4pm
Date: Sunday August 25
Location: Outside the Scottish Parliament