The human chain in Spain forms mainly on the plains ... of Catalonia.
Catalans massed in a vast human chain stretching hundreds of miles along the Mediterranean coast on Wednesday, demanding independence from Spain in the face of fierce opposition from the national government.
Hundreds of thousands of people in yellow T-shirts joined in, according to organizers, yelling "Independence!"
They linked hands along highways and through towns in the northeastern region, amid countless pro-independence flags bearing the red and yellow stripes of Catalonia overlaid with a white star on a blue background.
Proud of their Catalan language and culture, but suffering now in a recession, many of the 7.5 million people in debt-laden Catalonia say they feel slighted and short-changed by the central government which redistributes their taxes.
"We need to put an end to the cultural and economic suffocation we are suffering," said Carme Forcadell, president of the Catalan National Assembly, the grassroots group organizing the human chain.
"We have come out in our hundreds of thousands into the street to show in a democratic and inclusive way that we are capable of achieving any aim we set ourselves," she told the crowd in central Barcelona.
She said the rally aimed to draw 400,000 people and stretch for 250 miles along Catalonia's Mediterranean coast.
Wednesday's protest marked Catalonia's national day, the Diada, which recalls the conquest of Barcelona by Spanish king Philip V's forces that year.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's right-leaning government refuses to countenance a breakup of Spain, and has vowed to block a referendum on self-rule that Catalonia's regional president Artur Mas has promised for 2014.