Live updates

Catalan separatists form 250-mile human chain

Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Spain) human chain today to make their demands for independence heard.

Catalan separatists form a human chain through the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona Credit: REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

Demonstrators wore yellow T-shirts and draped themselves in blue, red and yellow separatist banners as they joined hands through cities and along rural roads.

The human chain stretched for 250 miles across Spain's Catalan region Credit: REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

Many Catalans feel their region has been treated unfairly over taxes and cultural issues such as the Catalan language, despite having significant self-governing powers.

Polls show backing for secession has risen steadily in Catalonia, with some registering support as high as 50 percent.

A dog is draped in the banner of Catalan independence Credit: REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

Spanish recession prompts Catalans to seek independence

The pain of recession in Spain has persuaded the people of its Catalan region to edge ever closer to independence.

Elections for its local Parliament gave almost two-thirds of the seats to parties who want a referendum on breaking away.

Catalonia in northeastern Spain has a population of 7.5 million and includes Barcelona, Spain's second biggest city.

Catalonia also produces 20 percent of Spain's GDP and its economy matches Portugal's.

From Barcelona, our Europe Editor James Mates reports.