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The Spanish flag, which usually flies alongside the Catalan one on the Catalan government's palace in Barcelona, disappeared this evening at 9.09pm. A bare flagpole could be seen in the place where the the Spanish flag usually hung, and beside it the Catalan senyera waved alone.

For about fifteen minutes, the Spanish flag was symbolically absent - something which did not even take place after Catalonia's declaration of independence in October 2017. The sight of the bare flagpole was announced in a tweet by the head of the office of exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, Josep Lluís Alay. "The Spanish flag has fallen from the Palau de la Generalitat," he said.

The disappearance of the flag coincided with the decision of the Central Electoral Commission to suspend Quim Torra as president of Catalonia, and to withdraw the status of MEP from the jailed Oriol Junqueras.

In parallel with the removal of the Spanish flag, a banner calling for the release of the Catalan political prisoners and the return of the political exiles, was once again put on display on the façade of the palace, in Barcelona's Plaça Sant Jaume. The display of the banner, after its removal had been ordered by Spain's Central Electoral Commission was the precipitant for Catalan president Quim Torra's trial and conviction for disobedience

The central Plaça Sant Jaume was packed with indignant independence supporters on Friday evening protesting the decision by the Spanish electoral organ to order president Torra out of office, even though a Supreme Court appeal against his conviction is still pending.


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