The Spanish region of Catalonia has been celebrating its national day known as La Diada amid demonstrations and renewed calls for independence.
In an attempt to muster support for secession hundreds of thousands of people have formed a 400km long human chain across the region to press for a vote on independence from Spain.
Some opinion polls have revealed that over 50% of Catalans support the movement.
The Catalan President Artur Mas is determined to hold a referendum in 2014 despite it not being permitted by the Spanish constitution.
Speaking on Tuesday night he said “the people of Catalonia should be consulted next year on their political future.” He added that as he is “firm” in his “promise of giving Catalans the right to choose their political future” and is “determined to use all the democratic and legal measures available so that Catalans can decide their future as a country.”
The People’s Party of Mariano Rajoy has boycotted all official celebrations in Catalonia for the first time in its history.
Relations between Madrid and Barcelona have improved in the past months with both Mas and Rajoy expressing a willingness for dialogue.
The Spanish Prime Minister said last week he hoped “reasonable things could be done with Catalonia”.
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