Human chain

Human chain

A human chain is a form of demonstration in which people link their arms as a show of political solidarity.

The number of demonstrators involved in a human chain is often disputed; the organizers of the human chain often report higher numbers than governmental authorities.

Notable human chains, in chronological order, have included:

Date Event Location Number of participants Purpose
1983 Berkshire, England, United Kingdom 40,000-80,000 Protested siting of American nuclear missiles in West Germany.
May 25, 1986 Hands Across America Across United States 5,000,000 Charitable event to raise money to fight hunger.
August 23, 1989 Baltic Way Estonia; Latvia; Lithuania 2,000,000 Called for independence for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Was followed by a similar chain on August 23, 1991, with people holding candles.
January 21, 1990 Reunion Day LvivKiev, Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine) 300,000 Marking the 71st anniversary of the Act Zluky, an agreement unifying the Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian National Republic.
1997 XII World Youth Day, 1997 Paris 400,000 A 36 km ring surrounding Paris facing outwards, symbolically calling for peace.
16 May, 1998 Jubilee 2000 Human Chain Birmingham, UK 70,000 - 100,000 The first Chain demonstration by Jubilee 2000, a coalition of church and faith groups, overseas development agencies and others at the G8 Summit in Birmingham, UK, to highlight the indebted poverty of many poor countries and the need for the G8, World Bank and IMF to act to remit that debt. The Chain surrounded Birmingham city center including the International Convention Center.
September 8, 1999 Protest against violence in East Timor Lisbon over 300,000 A 20 km ring connecting the United Nations delegation and the embassies of Russia, China, UK, France and the US in Lisbon, calling for the end of violence in East Timor.
2000 Latin American Jubilee 2000 Germany 50,000 Called for debt forgiveness for developing nations.
February 28, 2004 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally Taiwan: from Keelung to Eluanbi (500 kilometers, 300 miles) over 1,000,000 (over 2,000,000 according to organizers) Commemoration of the 228 Incident and protest of People's Republic of China missiles aimed at Taiwan.
July 25, 2004 Israeli Chain Gush Katif (Jewish communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Israel), to the Western Wall, Jerusalem (90 kilometers) 130,000 (according to police); 200,000 (according to organizers) Opposing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Disengagement Plan which involves dismantling of Jewish communities and settlements of Gush Katif.
May 1, 2006 Great American Boycott New York City. (Manhattan, Queens,Brooklyn Bronx) 12,000 (according to CNN ) Protesting H.R. 4437, a bill in Congress to toughen immigration checks.
February 25, 2008 Gaza Chain Gaza 20,000 Protesting Israeli blockade of Gaza
September 1, 2008 "Stop Russia" campaign Georgia 1,000,000 (according to the Georgian authorities) Protesting Russian military intervention

A 'human chain' may also refer to people holding on to each other in series to reach precarious spots. A young girl was rescued from a cliff in California via this method.


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