Opposition leader phones Catalan president to ‘bring tensions down’
Arrimadas still only political leader to refuse meeting Quim Torra at government headquarters
Ciutadans leader Inés Arrimadas called Catalan president Quim Torra, with the aim of “bringing tensions down” after she refused to meet with him last week. The opposition leader and head of the main unionist party in Catalonia demanded that a yellow ribbon in support of jailed and exiled pro-independence leaders be removed from the government headquarters—a petition that Torra refused.
The Catalan government argues that yellow ribbons are not partisan symbols, but a demand for the respect of “fundamental rights” of those in prison and abroad.
In the phone conversation, Arrimadas told Torra of her proposal to put forward legislation to guarantee the neutrality of public spaces and institutions. “There can be no symbols that exclude millions of Catalans and that represent confrontation,” she said in a recent press conference.
In response, Torra invited her once again to meet with him in the government headquarters. The leader of Ciutadans is the only political leader in Catalonia that refused to meet with the president after he assumed the post last May. For his part, Socialist leader Miquel Iceta recently said that he would not stop political dialogue over some “banners”.
The presence of yellow ribbons in public spaces has proven controversial in recent weeks. Pro-independence and unionists protesters have clashed over these symbols, and a Ciutadans MP removed a yellow ribbon from a parliament seat after a tense exchange with the chamber speaker.
In total, there are nine Catalan leaders imprisoned near Madrid for their role in the independence bid and pending trial. Seven politicians left Catalonia to seek refuge in other European countries, including former president Carles Puigdemont.