Unionist parties call on Barça to ban 'offensive' messages from Camp Nou
Club must ensure stadium slogans do not offend, says PP head, after fans hang "Only dictatorships jail peaceful political leaders" banner
When FC Barcelona turned out on Wednesday evening to face Inter Milan in the Champions League, a huge banner hung in the stands by supporters in the Camp Nou stadium read: "Only dictatorships jail peaceful political leaders."
However, after the match had finished, Catalonia's unionist parties were furious. Not because the blaugrana had defeated their Italian opponents 2-1, but because they say the banner was "offensive."
The head of the People's Party (PP) in Catalonia, Alejandro Fernández, said that he did not take the banner personally, assuming it must refer to "North Korea or Venezuela," but he said the club must make sure that banners are "not offensive or anti-democratic."
While anyone could be forgiven for wondering why Fernández might care about the feelings of the North Korean or Venezuelan governments, the PP leader said the banner was "unacceptable" and it is "the club's responsibility" to ensure it never happens again.
Despite Fernández insisting that the banner could not refer to Spain, which he said the Economist magazine says is one of the world's "20 full democracies," others might conclude that it was a criticism of Spain and referred to the jailed Catalan independence leaders.
It is not the first time that pro-independence messages have been displayed at Barça's stadium, and in the past other banners have been seen in Camp Nou, such as "Catalonia is not Spain" or "Welcome to the Catalan Republic."
It has also become common for some Barcelona fans to chant "independence" at the 17:14 point of their matches, 1714 being the date in which the Catalan capital fell to Bourbon troops in the War of the Spanish Succession and Catalonia lost many of its sovereign rights.
As for the head of the unionist Ciutadans party (Cs), Lorena Roldán, she regretted that a great many people go to the Camp Nou stadium to enjoy football, but "they have to see that their opinions are not respected."