Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Catalonia’s human chain for independence gains worldwide coverage in the international press


Barcelona (ACN).- The ‘Catalan Way towards independence’, which took place this Wednesday, has obtained significant coverage throughout the world, as numerous media outlets focus on the impact and scale of the historic 400-km human chain, gathering 1.6 million people. The world’s major newspapers and news agencies have published articles that detailed the history of the movement and the events that took place during Catalonia’s National Day. The Guardian documented the success of the human chain that ran all the way from “the border with neighbouring France to the region of Valencia”. They also opened a special section on their web page entitled “National Catalan day human chain – share your pictures and videos”. The page enables those attending the human chain to upload any images and will be opened for the next five days. The UK’s Financial Times had an article by Tobias Buck in which he stated how the independence movement “has grown” during the last year. He indicated how the organisers have wanted to “expand on the surprising success of the massive demonstration a year ago” in which 1.5 million Catalans took to the streets. The Associated Press revealed how an “estimated 1 million people took part”, before this year’s official figures were released. Meanwhile, the BBC has published a video on its website with statements from the Catalan President, Artur Mas, and footage from the “huge human chain”.

Al Jazeera’s reporter who is in Barcelona highlighted how “there is a real buzz in the city today”. “This is about more than economics. They feel their culture is very distinct from Spain’s and they want independence”, she continued. In an article by The Guardian, opinions of those taking part were obtained. “I’m joining the Via Catalana because I think we should be consulted on our future. I think the rise of the independence movement comes from the people while the politicians prefer stagnation to change”, noted one attendee.  The Associated Press detailed how “there was a festive mood across the countryside, with church bells ringing”. Just after 5pm the participants of the human chain “raised their arms and chanted ‘Independence!’”. The article revealed how “an estimated 1 million people took part in the human chain”.

French newspaper Le Figaro published an article titled “The Catalans challenge Madrid” which explained the political development in the past few days and states how the Rajoy Government “does not want to hear talk of a referendum, which it calls unconstitutional”. The other main French newspaper, Le Monde, revealed that members of the ‘Catalan Way’ who were asked to travel to more rural sections of Catalonia to fill the chain “did not hesitate for a moment”. This is “because the ‘Catalan Way’ towards independence is a success and all 400 kilometres of the route were covered with hundreds of Catalans making a journey of 100, 200 or even 300 kilometres to the south of Catalonia”, the French daily stresses. A third French newspaper L’Indépendant spoke of an “impressive human chain” that illustrated a “show of force to demand independence”.

Reuters published an article which explained the history of the Catalan separatist movement and noted how tensions have grown in recent years. “Catalan separatism has become a major headache for Prime Minister Rajoy, who is mired in a corruption scandal”. The news agency also highlighted the feeling on the ground among locals, one of which stated that “it used to be frowned upon to talk about independence, it would have been impossible to take this [Catalan] flag out on the street”.

The Financial Times has stated how Catalan President, Artur Mas, is trying “to find a balance” between “growing popular demand”, the “demands of his political allies”, and “a desire to avoid a clash with Madrid”. The article continues by saying that Mariano Rajoy, “states that he is willing to negotiate, but has made it clear that he will not allow the Catalans a referendum on independence”.

  • bbc_catalan_way

  • The BBC website informing about the 'Catalan Way' (by BBC / ACN)