A man holds up a Basque flag or Ikurrina as people gather along La Concha beach, while thousands of independence demonstrators make a human chain calling for the independence of the Basque Country with the slogan ''Our Right to Decide'' or in Basque language, '' Gure Esku Dago'', in the Basque city of San Sebastian, northern Spain, Sunday, June 10, 2018. Thousands of demonstrators marched in a large human chain in the Basque cities of Vitoria, Bilbao and San Sebastian for half an hour Sunday afternoon. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

Spain: Thousands form human chain for Basque secession vote

June 10, 2018 - 9:45 am

MADRID (AP) — Tens of thousands of Spaniards from the northern Basque Country have formed a line that stretched over 200 kilometers (124 miles) to demand a ballot on secession for the wealthy region.

Protesters held hands or extended scarves between themselves to form the human chain, which connected the cities of San Sebastian, Bilbao and regional seat Vitoria.

The scarves bore the slogan "It's in our hands" written in Basque

Organizers say 175,000 people participated, including Basque and Catalan pro-secession politicians and activists. Basque police did not give an official count.

The demonstration took place just over a month since Basque militant group ETA announced its dissolution.

Spain has refused to allow an official referendum on secession by the Catalonia region, whose leaders tried and failed to declare independence last year.

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