World

Catalans protest for right to hold secession vote from Spain a week before Scotland ballot

  • People burn torches during a march for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. After years of mass protests by Catalans demanding the right to decide whether they want to break away from Spain and form a new European nation, the wealthy northeastern region’s lawmakers are voting to ask permission from Spanish authorities to hold a secession referendum in November. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    People burn torches during a march for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. After years of mass protests by Catalans demanding the right to decide whether they want to break away from Spain and form a new European nation, the wealthy northeastern region’s lawmakers are voting to ask permission from Spanish authorities to hold a secession referendum in November. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • People hold torches during a march for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. After years of mass protests by Catalans demanding the right to decide whether they want to break away from Spain and form a new European nation, the wealthy northeastern region’s lawmakers are voting to ask permission from Spanish authorities to hold a secession referendum in November. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    People hold torches during a march for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. After years of mass protests by Catalans demanding the right to decide whether they want to break away from Spain and form a new European nation, the wealthy northeastern region’s lawmakers are voting to ask permission from Spanish authorities to hold a secession referendum in November. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • People hold torches during a march for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. After years of mass protests by Catalans demanding the right to decide whether they want to break away from Spain and form a new European nation, the wealthy northeastern region’s lawmakers are voting to ask permission from Spanish authorities to hold a secession referendum in November. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    People hold torches during a march for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. After years of mass protests by Catalans demanding the right to decide whether they want to break away from Spain and form a new European nation, the wealthy northeastern region’s lawmakers are voting to ask permission from Spanish authorities to hold a secession referendum in November. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

A week before Scotland votes on whether to break away from the United Kingdom, Catalan separatists in northeastern Spain hope at least 1 million people will take to the streets in Barcelona and across Catalonia to demand a secession vote.

The central government in Madrid insists that would be illegal.

Several hours before protests began, Catalonia regional leader Artur Mas said Thursday his government is not wavering from plans to hold a secession referendum on Nov. 9 even though experts say an attempt is sure to be blocked Spain's Constitutional Court.

Polls suggesting Scotland's "Yes" independence camp could win their Sept. 18 vote have energized Catalan separatists, Corsicans who want to break away from France and Flemish speakers in Belgium demanding more autonomy, independence or union with the Netherlands.