Ombudsman to decide on ribbons

Torra leaves yellow ribbons up until he receives report; Moncloa warns Mossos can be ordered to remove them

The conflict between the President of the Catalan Government, Quim Torra, and the Central Electoral Board (JEC) over the removal of yellow ribbons and pro-independence flags from public buildings may be resolved in the coming hours, but it will be in the hands of the Catalan Ombudsman whether there will be consequences beyond an economic fine for breaching the deadline or whether the Criminal Code is being applied in this case.

The Catalan president decided to ignore the JEC order to withdraw the ribbons and flags for a second time, an order that expired at 2.30 p.m. yesterday, preferring to follow a path of disobedience.

The spokesperson and still adviser to the Presidency, Elsa Artadi, yesterday informed the media of the president’s decision, adding that they were aiming to notify the JEC of the impossibility of fulfilling its request due to the different management bodies in charge of the buildings - some public companies, some assigned to private companies, institutions, entities, etc. - and that they had requested the opinion of the Catalan Ombudsman.

However, the JEC’s response was immediate, and shortly before four in the afternoon it had refused to suspend the withdrawal period, stating Torra had not identified the buildings or “offered demonstrative legal reasons” why he could not comply with the order.

Upon expiration of the deadline, the Spanish government also leapt into action, releasing a statement with a first warning of possible action by the Mossos to remove the ribbons if ordered to do so by the JEC. Regarding the possible intervention of the Mossos, Artadi made it clear that the police force “will do what it has to do” regardless of political decisions.

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