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Catalans form 250-mile human chain

Several hundred thousand people demanding an independent Catalonia have joined hands to form a 250-mile human chain across the north-eastern region of Spain.

The demonstration aimed to illustrate local support for political efforts to break away. Organisers estimated about 400,000 people took part.

Catalonia claims a deep cultural difference based on its language, which is spoken as well as Spanish in the wealthy region.

Catalonia's regional leader Artur Mas has promised to hold a referendum on independence in 2014, but the Madrid-based government has said that such a vote would be unconstitutional.

Polls indicate that the majority of Catalans agree on holding a referendum, though surveys in the region of 7.5 million people indicate support for independence is around 50%.

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