About 11,000 people from the indigenous Basque ethnic group have staged a rally in a northern Spanish city, calling for independence for the autonomous Basque region from Spain.
The protesters, carrying Basque flags and giant banners reading “Independence”, marched in the northern city of Pamplona in a rally organized by the Basque Independentistak (“Independence”) movement on Sunday to mobilize support for the region’s independence.
Basque has its own distinct language and culture as well as autonomy in policing and taxation.
“What we are proposing is to follow the unilateral way,” Txutxi Ariznabarreta, one of the leaders of the movement said, adding, “And that is a very important step strategy and that strategy requires people on the march.”
Spain’s Constitutional Court has already rejected a self-determination referendum for Basque.
An independence drive by Catalonia, another autonomous Spanish region, also gained momentum in recent years before becoming less assertive again.
In November 2014, Catalonia’s President Artur Mas staged a symbolic independence referendum after the government in Madrid blocked his bid to hold an official referendum. Nearly 80 percent of the 2.2 million people who took part in the vote backed secession, though the turnout was slightly more than 40 percent.