|Catalan independence activists want to revitalize their movement with a more eye-catching protest than a mass street rally staged a year ago: a 400-kilometer (249-mile) human chain traversing Catalonia from the Pyrenees Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea.Secessionists in Spain’s richest region are counting on the Sept. 11 spectacle, dubbed the Catalan Way Toward Independence, to help them recapture lost political momentum ahead of what could be a decisive year for their cause.The chain, which will require at least 400,000 demonstrators to fill its ranks, will follow the ancient Roman route of the Via Augusta, snaking through canyons, beaches and farmland, as well as the streets of 86 communities. To transport demonstrators, organizers plan to deploy more than 1,000 buses, some of which will be brought from other provinces or neighboring France. Recording the event will be 800 photographers on the ground, along with a small fleet of drones and light planes in the air.
The demonstration, taking place on a regional holiday, is designed to press regional and national leaders for a referendum on independence in 2014, a year that coincides with the 300th anniversary of Catalonia’s defeat by the Spanish crown after the bloody siege of Barcelona. (It is symbolically significant that participants will link hands at 5:14 p.m., or 17:14 military time.)
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