Barcelona council removes “Freedom for political prisoners” banner as requested by election board
The electoral body argues that the message of the poster “affects the neutrality of government institutions”
The Barcelona City Council will remove the banner that reads "Freedom for political prisoners" that is currently hanging from the balcony of the city hall building, as well as other posters or slogans of this kind hanging on other city buildings. Barcelona’s election board requested the removal of the banner on Sunday and the city council says it will comply even though it stated that it doesn’t agree with why this request has been applied.
According to sources from the Barcelona City Council, the upcoming election in Catalonia is “abnormal” not because of the banners, but because several of the candidates are being held in prison awaiting trial. The Barcelona City Council also highlighted that it will continue “demanding the immediate release” of the jailed Catalan officials and the presidents of the Òmnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly, who are imprisoned in Madrid.
"Not all citizens or all political parties that run in the elections identify themselves with this slogan"
Following a challenge presented by the unionist party Ciutadans, Barcelona’s election board stated that the candidates currently in jail belong to different political parties, referring to PDeCat and ERC. That’s the reason why the electoral board considered that the banner hanging on the balcony of the city council’s building harms the “neutrality of the institution”.
"Several parties running in the election have candidates on their lists who are in jail and who want to be released. For this reason, the banner is inexorably identified with these political parties,” said the election board in the resolution.
According to the electoral board, the banner “affects the neutrality that is required in public institutions” due to the fact that “not all citizens or all political parties that run in the elections identify themselves with this slogan”.