Staff at Catalonia's pavilion at the Mobile World Congress received Spanish king Felipe VI on Monday morning wearing yellow ribbons on their lapels when the monarch visited as part of his inauguration of the huge technology congress. The majority of the high ranking Catalan civil servants present also wore the yellow bows, which have become a key symbol of protest against the Catalan political prisoners, since civil and political leaders of Catalonia began receiving orders to enter jail preventively in the final months of 2017.
As against Sunday, when senior Catalan officials who were invited decided to boycott the inaugural dinner presided over by the monarch, this morning those representatives of the Catalan administration were present at the welcome given to king Felipe at the official MWC inauguration. The secretary general of the presidency department, Joaquim Nin, headed the delegation. The commerce secretary, Pau Villòria, was also present, with a yellow ribbon displayed on his lapel. The telecommunications secretary, Jordi Puigneró, also wore the protest symbol - he was not present during the king's visit, but later held a conversation with Spain's energy minister, Álvaro Nadal - and Joan Romero, director of the Catalan business competitiveness agency ACCIO, also wore a bow.
The civil servants who were staffing the pavilion, mostly engineers, explained that they were wearing the yellow ribbons because they usually did so.
For his part, commerce secretary Pau Villòria wanted to clarify to El Nacional that his presence today at the fair, after the Catalan government officials' boycott of the gala dinner for the inauguration of the congress on Sunday, was due to a distinction between the protocol status of Sunday's event and the work-related nature of Monday's, the latter being of great importance for his department.