World's separatist movements gather in Scotland
Members of separatist movements from around the world gathered in Scotland for its historic vote on independence on Thursday, declaring their own right to self-determination.
"We recommit ourselves fully to the principle of self-determination and recognise the right of stateless nations to decide upon their own feature," 29 European separatist movements announced in a joint declaration signed in Edinburgh.
Signatories included Catalan separatist parties who want to split from Spain and the nationalist party of the island of Corsica, which campaigns for independence from France.
A senior member of the Parti Quebecois (PQ), which wants the French-speaking region of Canada to secede, said he hoped that Scotland would approve independence and not narrowly reject it, as happened in a Quebec referendum in 1995.
"This is about the right of self-determination," said PQ leader Daniel Turp. "Scots, please, vote 'Yes', for yourselves, but also for us."
Millions of Scots have voted in the referendum, in which they are asked to vote "Yes" or "No" to ending a 307-year-old union with England, and turnout is expected to be record-breaking.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday warned against such referendums, saying they were like a "torpedo" for European integration.
The regional government of Catalonia plans a vote on independence from Madrid in November.
Catalan independence campaigner and member of the European Parliament Josep Maria Terricabras said it was time for Catalonia to break with Spain and applauded Scotland's referendum.
"This is a feast for democracy," Terricabras said.
"Is it something to be afraid of? If Europe is afraid of that, I don't like this Europe."
© 2014 AFP