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Flurry of ‘yellow’ initiatives support imprisoned and exiled leaders

Number of actions this week feature the yellow solidarity symbols that some groups want removed from public spaces



21 August 2018 06:20 PM


ACN | Barcelona

“Out of sight, out of mind” does not seem to apply to the Catalan political leaders locked up awaiting trial for their part in last year’s independence bid. While the debate over the legitimacy of displaying yellow ribbons in support of the prisoners continues, a number of initiatives have taken place this week showing solidarity with the high-profile detainees.

One example is to be found on Costa Brava, where on Tuesday 18 yellow kayaks were positioned to form a large yellow bow next to the Medes islands, a natural beauty spot in the Empordà area. Under the title 'Sense límits' (Without limits), the initiative aimed to focus public attention on the prisoners and those political leaders living in exile.

Each participant set out with a photo of one of the prisoners or exiles, which were later taken to the sea bed below Carall Bernat island by divers. On the surface, the kayaks made the shape of a yellow bow to cries of "llibertat" (freedom). The organizers said the aim was to “symbolically” take the plight of the prisoners and exiles to every corner of Catalonia.

‘Cycling for the political prisoners’

Meanwhile, another initiative to draw attention to the situation of the prisoners and exiles saw three cyclists set out to cover the whole of Catalonia in a week. The initiative 'Pedalem per als presos polítics' (Cycling for the political prisoners) began on Monday in the western city of Lleida with some 50 cyclists who had signed up for the trip.

The route covering 700 kilometres plans stops at the Mas d'Enric, Lledoners and Puig de les Basses prisons, where some of the leaders are being held. The trip divided into seven stages will end on Sunday August 26, with the organizers calling on the public to sign up to one or more of the stages, or one of the related activities planned at the end of each stage.

Beach covered in yellow parasols

Also on Monday, the pro-independence organization, the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), posted a video on social media showing another initiative in support of the imprisoned leaders and exiles on Blanes beach in the Girona region. The initiative saw the beach covered in a display of almost 90 yellow parasols.

The video images, which were taken from a drone flying above the beach, show the parasols arranged in a geometric pattern with 10 of them forming the word 'Democràcia' (Democracy). At the end of the video, the organizers thank the local CDRs of Gavarres-Mar, Selva and Maresme for their participation.

Pressure to remove yellow symbols

Despite the support for the prisoners and exiles, not everyone is in favor of the yellow bows, with groups of people on more than one occasion removing the symbols from public places. Just this week the Catalan police began investigating one group of activists who were caught removing such symbols, one of whom was found to be a Spanish Guardia Civil police officer.

The Ciutadans opposition party has called for the yellow symbols to be removed from public spaces. A group close to the party, the España Ciudadana platform, launched a campaign in which a light aircraft flew over beaches with a banner calling on people to remove yellow bows, which the group says "aim to coerce and reduce the space for freedom of all citizens.”




  • 18 yellow kayaks forming a bow to back the incarcerated and exiled officials in the Illes Medes on August 21, 2018 (by Aleix Freixas)

  • 18 yellow kayaks forming a bow to back the incarcerated and exiled officials in the Illes Medes on August 21, 2018 (by Aleix Freixas)