Catalan foreign minister accuses Ciutadans of fabricating yellow ribbons controversy
Alfred Bosch claims it is a distraction tactic ahead of general election campaign
Catalan foreign minister Alfred Bosch has criticized opposition party Ciutadans for "stoking the flames of controversy" over the symbolic ribbons and banners on Catalan government buildings.
Regional president Quim Torra has been reported to the Spanish public prosecutor for refusing to remove the "ideological and partisan" adornments, which express solidarity with Catalan leaders in prison or exile, and Bosch believes the dispute was stirred up by Spanish unionist politicians.
Speaking after a meeting with German parliamentarians in Berlin, the Catalan minister accused Cuitadans leader Inés Arrimadas and her colleagues for focusing attention on the ribbons debate rather than concrete policy issues in order to distract from their own "weak electoral prospects".
Bosch expressed his support for the decisions by President Torra – first to maintain the banner featuring a yellow ribbon on the Catalan government headquarters in Barcelona, and then to replace it with a white ribbon – claiming that it helps to "protect freedom of speech everywhere".
Arrimadas, on the other hand, condemned the use of the symbols as "separatist propaganda".
Her campaign for the removal of the ribbons, as well as flags promoting a Catalan republic, could prove successful if Catalan police comply with an order from the Spanish electoral authority to take down any remaining symbols from the façade of public institutions on Friday afternoon.
Bosch had been at the Bundestag for discussions with left-wing party Die Linke and announced that his counterparts are preparing to put forward a motion to "condemn the trial of political prisoners" and demand that Europe "act to find a democratic solution to the Catalan question."