With the local and European elections now over, it has taken less than 24 hours for Catalan president Quim Torra to put back a controversial banner considered ‘partisan’ by Spain’s electoral authority on the front of the Catalan government building in Barcelona
During the election campaign, the electoral authority ordered Torra to remove the banner in support of Catalan leaders on trial in the Supreme Court over the 2017 independence bid from the front of the public building.
The president at first defied the order, arguing that the banner, which reads ‘freedom for the political prisoners and exiles’ and features a yellow ribbon, was not political and that the order was an infringement of freedom of expression.
That led to Torra being hit by a lawsuit accusing him of disobedience, and the president finally ordered the banner’s removal as the deadline to comply expired. Yet, Torra then had the banner replaced with another championing freedom of expression.
As part of the lawsuit, Torra appeared in the high court in Barcelona on 15 May, where prosecutors questioned him about the incident. Torra left the hearing in defiant mood, insisting that ‘it’s not possible to obey an illegal order that violates fundamental rights’.