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The Segadors del Maresme, one of the vigilante squads that have made it their business to remove yellow ribbons during the night from different Catalan towns, dumped thousands of such yellow plastic strips in front of the Catalan government palace in Barcelona's Plaça Sant Jaume on Saturday morning. A dozen people emptied out the bright yellow contents of about 20 building-site debris bags in the central Barcelona square.

abocada llaços grocs escamots unionistes generalitat - efe

The dumped ribbons in Plaça Sant Jaume | Efe

Clad in white overalls, goggles and masks, the anti-independence vigilantes displayed banners saying "Greenpeace, where are you?" and "The streets belong to everyone". They also carried placards featuring a print-out of a recent tweet from Catalan president Quim Torra, encouraging people to "recycle, reuse and reduce plastics" to fight against climate change.

Translation: "It's a national commitment which, individually, we must all make. Combating climate change also involves recycling, reusing and reducing plastics in our daily lives. Let's work for a more sustainable world."

This was the moment when the dumping took place, just before 1pm:

"Here we can see a little group of Tabarnians, making a scene in front of the Generalitat palace today Saturday."

"Segadors del Maresme dumps 10 bags of yellow plastic in front of the 'Palau de la Generalitat', to demonstrate the cynicism of Quim Torra when he said earlier in a tweet, that we had to stop polluting."— Segadors del Maresme

"The "ribbon-remover" fascists, Segadors del Maresme enjoying all that they have removed in front of a the seat of a Catalan government which has once again given in to pressure."— Jurgen Cristh

Since 2017, yellow ribbons have been adopted by many Catalans as a symbol of solidarity with those imprisoned or in exile in the period following the Catalan independence referendum. Some unionists see the use of the symbol as merely an expression of a political view and vigilante groups have dedicated themselves to removing the symbols from public places. With the proximity of elections, Spain's Electoral Commission recently ruled that the yellow ribbons along with other symbols had to be removed from public buildings.