By a Newsnet reporter

The representatives of the Spanish central government in the Valencian provinces of Alacant/Alicante and Castelló/Castellón have prohibited the human chains due to be held today (Tuesday 10) and on Wednesday 11 (Catalonia's national day) to link the Valencian region with Catalonia.

On September 11, known as La Diada in Catalan, a human chain calling for independence is planned to run the length of Catalonia from the French frontier to the southern border with Valencia.   The event is expected to attract over 1 million participants.

Although outside Catalonia proper, some two thirds of Valencians speak Catalan as their home language.  The banned events planned in Valencia were intended to highlight the traditional links of culture and language between Valencia and Catalonia. 

Valencia is regarded by Catalans as one of the "Paissos Catalans" (Catalan Countries), and some Catalan nationalists hope that El País Valencià will one day join an independent Catalonia.

Sources from the Spanish Interior Ministry said the decision to ban the events was based on the grounds of road safety and the safety of protesters.  The Spanish government claimed that the proposed routes are dangerous, and banned the events after representations were made by the Guardia Civil, overturning a previous decision to authorise the protests.

The Guardia Civil, a paramilitary police force directly controlled by the Interior Ministry in Madrid, claimed that the event would create economic damage, and may provoke a "hostile attitude towards the demonstrators" which might "undermine the public order". 

The governing party in the Valencian region is the Partido Popular, which also forms the government in Madrid.  A number of prominent voices from the Valencian PP had already condemned the planned demonstrations.  Vice-president of the regional government, Jose Cisco, warned that the regional government would take "all necessary measures" against the human chains.

The Secretary General of the PP in Valencia, Serafin Castellano, had also called on all political parties to strongly oppose the celebration of the human chain.  Castellano urged respect for what he called "the hallmarks of Valencia", adding, "The citizens of this community are very clear what our language, our flag and our anthem are, "he said, referring to the Spanish flag and anthem, and the so-called "Valencian language".

The "Valencian language" is the official name for the Catalan language in Valencia.  After pressures from the PP, the Catalan of Valencia was legally declared to be a separate language from Catalan, although no linguistic experts or philologists agree with this view.  The differences between Standard Catalan and Standard Valencian are broadly equivalent to the differences between US and British English.


# Jo Bloggs 2013-09-10 11:12
It would appear someone in Madrid is a trifle nervous.
# jimmcdougall 2013-09-10 11:19
Voting Yes to Independence will inspire the pro-Catalans and give Spanish authorities something to worry about.
# ButeHouse 2013-09-10 15:46
This is a flagrant breach of democratic rights and therefore Human Rights of the Catalan People and Europe should intervene immediately.

as for our YES vote helping the Catalans I was hoping theirs would help us. they are much further down the line towards their Independence than we are. Whereas we might struggle to get 20,000 a week on Saturday they can muster a million to form a Human Chain.

Last year's National Day saw 1.5million Catalans on the streets of Barcelona demonstrating for Independence.

Our press stay silent at the flagrant abuse of power the Spanish government is displaying over this because they don;t want to inflame the people of Scotland with Catalan enthusiasm for Independence.

So glad I live in a civilised, democratic part of the world - don't you?

VOTE YES in 373 Days
# Marga B 2013-09-10 22:23
Bit of news on a demo banned in Guardamar, Valencia, tonight:

Human Chain at Guardamar tricks Civil Guard

Dozens of participants demonstrated after tricking police agents sent out to stop them.

The Human Chain at Guardamar banned by the delegate of the Spanish government ended up getting their way. The Civil Guard sent a huge patrol to the square where the demo was to happen: 40 agents and six patrol cars turned up to guard what turned out to be an empty square. A group of participants walked up and innocently asked what was happening and why all the police were there.

On being told it was to stop the banned demo, they told the agents it had been cancelled and that the demonstrators had gone home. They left and waited around the corner.

On hearing this, the agents left. The demonstrators sneaked back and demonstrated anyway.

The demo, by the way, was holding hands in a row. Highly dangerous!

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