Inspired by Baltic Movement, Catalans Take to the Streets

Source: Photo: Reuters/Scanpix

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators linked hands across the Spanish region of Catalonia yesterday in a protest that was inspired by the Baltic Way of 1989.

Marking a traditional Catalan holiday, the protesters with blue, red and yellow banners formed a 400-kilometer chain, demanding that the Madrid government allow a referendum on whether Catalonia should form its own country, reported ETV.

Separatist sentiment in Catalonia has grown significantly in recent years, as independence supporters believe the Spanish government has treated the region unfairly on issues ranging from taxes to culture.

The human chain, which has been dubbed the Catalan Way, was modeled after a similar demonstration that fueled the Baltics' independence movement from the Soviet Union 25 years ago.

On August 23, 1989, 1 million people from the three Baltic countries formed the 600-kilometer Baltic Way to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the secret non-aggression agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which set the stage for the occupation of the region.

Check back with ERR News tomorrow for input from two Spanish journalists who have both lived in Estonia and will give varying views on whether it is correct to draw parallels between the Baltic and Catalonian independence movements.

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