PALMA THOUSANDS of people took to the streets of the capital yesterday demanding the right to speak - and to have their children educated in - the language of their choice.

In a move organised by the Circulo Balear, its president Jorge Campos said yesterday that the protest comes as a backlash to the Balearic authorities' imposition of Catalan as the first language of the region. The bylaw restricts government posts to those who can speak and write at a certain level in that language. “We want the government to repeal its language control laws,” said Campos. “Lack of ability in Catalan shouldn't be a bar to people achieving their full professional potential,” he claimed. No less than 25 social and political organisations backed the march, including the ex-mayor of Palma, Catalina Cirer, present mayor of Calvia, Carlos Delgado, and the President of the Regional Citizens Association, Albert Rivera. Various banners were waved aloft reading:“We are Majorcan, not Catalan,” or “We are Spanish, not Catalan,” and “We should have the right to choose.” The march began at midday in the Paseo del Borne, coming to a close at 1.30pm. Visibly moved, by the massive support he received, Campos spoke in Plaza Joan Carles I, and said that the protest was nothing to do with political colours, it was about the right to choose.