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Vice-president removes white ribbon symbol from finance ministry

Catalan government ordered to take down all signs of support for imprisoned and exiled leaders from public buildings


22 March 2019 10:17 AM


Daniel Wittenberg | Barcelona

The Catalan vice-president and finance minister, Pere Aragonès, has withdrawn a washed-out version of the controversial yellow ribbon symbol from the façade of the finance ministry.

The banner was taken down on Friday morning following the decision by the Spanish electoral authority to order the removal of all "ideological or partisan symbols" from government buildings.

A flag featuring a white ribbon was also removed from the regional administration in Girona.

The most emblematic banner – hanging on the balcony of the Catalan government headquarters in Barcelona's old town – remained in place hours before local police were due to step in.

There appears to be cabinet division over whether to preempt an intervention, with culture minister Laura Borràs saying she will not sanction the removal of symbols from her ministry.

The Central Electoral Board has given Catalan interior minister Miquel Buch until 3pm on Friday to ensure all yellow ribbons, expressing support for imprisoned and exiled leaders, and white ribbons, which they were exchanged for earlier this week, are removed from public institutions.

Spanish president Pedro Sánchez came out in favor of the ultimatum on Thursday evening, highlighting that Spain has a "rule of law" under which institutions must be "neutral".


  • The façade of the Catalan finance ministry with a yellow ribbon (by ACN)

  • The façade of the Catalan finance ministry with a yellow ribbon (by ACN)