Barcelona or­dered to pull plug on yel­low lights sup­port­ing Cata­lan ac­tivists

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By James Bad­cock in Madrid

BARCELONA city coun­cil has been or­dered to stop bathing pub­lic foun­tains in yel­low light af­ter Spain’s elec­toral au­thor­ity ruled that the colour sug­gested sup­port for Cata­lan sep­a­ratists in the run-up to re­gional elec­tions.

The Dec 21 elec­tion was called by Mar­i­ano Ra­joy, the Span­ish prime min­is­ter, af­ter his gov­ern­ment had ap­plied di­rect rule in Cat­alo­nia for declar­ing in­de­pen­dence.

About 20 foun­tains across Barcelona have been glow­ing yel­low af­ter the coun­cil voted on Nov 15 to in­clude signs of sup­port for 10 jailed pro-in­de­pen­dence politi­cians and ac­tivists in the city’s Christ­mas light­ing pro­gramme.

When two Cata­lan ac­tivists were jailed in Oc­to­ber on sus­pi­cion of sedi­tion, in­de­pen­dence sup­port­ers took to wear­ing yel­low rib­bons. This month, eight mem­bers of the ousted Cata­lan gov­ern­ment were also re­manded in cus­tody by a Madrid judge who ac­cused them of re­bel­lion in con­nec­tion with the il­le­gal ref­er­en­dum on Oct 1.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Mr Ra­joy’s Pop­u­lar Party (PP) in Barcelona took the foun­tain is­sue to the Elec­toral Coun­cil. Yes­ter­day it was de­cided that the choice of light­ing was akin to sup­port­ing a spe­cific po­lit­i­cal op­tion, and not a mere show of sol­i­dar­ity as the coun­cil led by Ada Co­lau, its Left-wing mayor, had claimed.

“It’s ridicu­lous that there are par­ties who think they can re­store demo­cratic nor­mal­ity by chang­ing the colour of a foun­tain when there are peo­ple in pri­son who should be out cam­paign­ing,” said Laia Or­tiz, the coun­cil’s so­cial rights spokesman.

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