Read in Catalan

There's a Catalan idiom that says "No vols caldo, doncs dues tasses" (literally, "If you don't want broth, then two cups").

It's been over a week since the Central Electoral Commission set its first deadline for yellow loops, symbols of support for the pro-independence leaders on trial in Madrid, to be removed from Catalan government property during the election campaigns. President Quim Torra, following the recommendation of the Catalan ombudsman, finally agreed to do so, having held out through two Commission deadlines. Government sources, however, said they would look for an "imaginative response". No vols caldo, doncs dues tasses.

It was just before half ten this morning when the head of protocol of the presidency department, Carles Fabró, went out onto the balcony of the Catalan government's palace in Barcelona with five others. They didn't remove the old banner, they simply put a new one over the top. That new banner is very similar to the other: it still bears the message "Llibertat presos polítics i exiliats; Free political prisoners and exiles". The change is in the loop. Where it was yellow, it's now a black outline with a red stroke slashed across it.

They then went to the next window along to hang up another banner. This one reads "llibertat d'expressió" ("freedom of expression") above the symbol of a face with the mouth covered with a red stripe popularised by Òmnium Cultural following the pretrial detention of pro-independence leaders, the symbol echoed by the new loop design on the other banner.

pancarta llibertat expressio façana generalitat   acn

The Commission's order only specified yellow loops and the estelada pro-independence flag as the "partisan symbols" that have to be taken down during the election. It's not just the government palace that's noted this and looked for creative ways to comply with the order. In most cases, the choice has been to go with the new white loop with a red stripe.

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Inside the Catalan economy ministry

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Catalan interior ministry

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Catalan business ministry

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Catalan territory ministry

Other choices

Other buildings, however, have found their own alternatives. The justice department, for example, has changed the posters in its windows for others reading "censurat" ("censored"). In another window, someone has stuck up a yellow paper butterfly. The foreign affairs and health ministries have gone for using the silhouette of a yellow loops, whilst agriculture has chosen a whole range of symbols linked to the sector.

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Agriculture department. The message reads "Els jutgen a ells, ens jutgen a tots" ("They're trying them, they're trying us all").

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Foreign department

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Health department

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Justice department

Out of Barcelona

One of the most creative ideas is from the seaside village of Port de la Selva in the north of Catalonia. They have changed the yellow loop on their banner for a blue one and the motto "Llibertat presos polítics" ("Free political prisoners") for the similar-sounding "Llibertat peixos pacífics" ("Free peaceful fish").

The ANC (Catalan National Assembly), meanwhile, has called on members of the public to hang up estelada pro-independence flags on their own private balconies if they are banned from public buildings during the elections. "There will be no electoral commission which can stop it," they write.

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