Unionist parties want to ban ‘partisan symbols’ from public spaces

People’s Party initiative comes amid controversy over yellow bow supporting jailed leaders on Catalan government building

Leader of People's Party in Catalonia Xavier García Albiol in Parliament (by  ACN)
Leader of People's Party in Catalonia Xavier García Albiol in Parliament (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 12, 2018 05:31 PM

Yellow bows and ribbons showing support for jailed and exiled pro-independence leaders are to be found all over Catalonia these days. Yet not everyone likes the symbols, and in particular when they are in public buildings. The Catalan branch of the unionist People’s Party (PPC) on Tuesday proposed a bill to ban them from public assets, such as buildings, and from public spaces.

PPC member Santi Rodríguez announced the initiative to ban “partisan symbols” during a news conference, arguing that public spaces have been “kidnapped” by the yellow bows and that their “neutrality” must be guaranteed. The proposed bill would ban all non-official symbols from public assets, with the exception of commemorative events, official periods of mourning, or historic or artistic events of local, regional, national or international interest.  

The PPC proposal, which also envisages a hierarchy of fines for breaking the rules, comes at the height of a controversy over a large yellow bow on the facade of the Catalan government building in Barcelona. While the PPC has demanded that the ribbon be removed, Inés Arrimadas, the head of the main opposition party, Ciutadans (Cs), has refused to sit and talk with president Quim Torra until he orders the symbol to be taken down.

Symbols “exclude millions of Catalans,” says Cs

In fact, on the same day that PPC announced its proposed bill, Arrimadas also said that her party will put forward legislation to guarantee the neutrality of public spaces and institutions and institutional events. Arrimadas said her party’s initiative aims to regulate the use of non-official symbols. “There can be no symbols that exclude millions of Catalans and that represent confrontation,” said the Cs leader on Tuesday.