Torrent suspends plenary after Citizens Party removes yellow ribbon from Government seat

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

Photo: Screenshot from video of Roger Torrent suspending parliament plenary (Credit: NacioDigitalTV, on YouTube)

By Roger Tugas, Nacio Digital
From 25th May, 2018

Tension in parliament, today. Speaker of Parliament, Roger Torrent, suspended a plenary session after the Citizens Party spokesman, Carlos Carrizosa, removed a yellow ribbon from one of the seats reserved for the Government in the row in front of him. Torrent warned the liberal leader several times that if he did not return the symbol he would be forced to suspend the session. The Ciutadans spokesman refused, and the plenary session stopped.

Carrizosa had already knocked the yellow ribbon from its place one, but the chairman of the JxCat group, Elsa Artadi, had reinstated it. Then, the liberal leader demanded that Torrent order the withdrawl of the symbolic ribbons: “We shouldn’t have to have a yellow ribbon on an empty bench. This loop represents no one, as there is no Government. We do not want to have a yellow bow in front of our bench”. The Speaker of the Parliament, however, was persistent in his refusal. “I demand that you not turn this space into a schoolyard,” and he repeatedly said to the Citizens Party spokesman, who in turn, insisted.

“It is the governing bench, and a yellow ribbon has been place on it, as has been done on other seats,” insisted Torrent, whom Carrizosa repeatedly spoke over, despite many complaints. “Will you let me speak or must I suspend them from the plenary?”, threatened Torrent; and as the leader of the Citizens party continued, the Speaker of Parliament insisted: “If you do not know how to keep respect for this institution or its speaker, I’ll will be obliged to… ” though the liberal politicians spoke over him again and again.

Carrizosa removes the ribbon

Torrent offered to deal with this issue, individually with parliamentary groups directly, after the plenary, “to prevent this from becoming a schoolyard,” but this proposal did not satisfy the liberals, who continued to demand the ribbons be removed. As the Speaker did not accede, Carrizosa directly removed the ribbon and kept it aside. “It is not for you to remove symbols from seats in this plenary,” recriminated Torrent, who asserted he was showing no respect for the Parliament and its Speaker, demanded, unsuccessfully, that he “put the ribbon back where it had been”.

As he refused to do so, Torrent suspended the plenary session and withdrew to meet the group spokespersons. After this decision, Quim Torra approached to speak to those on the Citizens Party bench – also with Inés Arrimadas, who was not in the chamber at the beginning of the incident, not having heard the majority of the back-and-forth. Once the majority of the deputies had left the chamber, Popular Unity Candidacy members, Vidal Aragonès and Natàlia Sànchez returned the yellow ribbon to the chair of the ERC group President, Sergi Sabrià, and to the deputy Antoni Castellà, who once again placed it on the seat, to await for the resumption of the plenary.

Carles Puigdemont reacted to this event with a tweet in which he asserted that the Citizens Party “sought to destroy a peaceful, civic, popular symbol” and “the expression of those who do not think like them […] which confirms the nationalist drift they have undertaken,” and he added that “the new right is neither new nor right “, but “the old and extreme right”:

Torrent demands respect from Parliamentary groups

According to sources close to Torrent, during his meeting with the Parliamentary group heads, the Speaker of the Parliament called on the spokespeople fpr the groups “to ensure towards the institution and warned that a lack of respect would not be allowed to or from anyone in the chamber”. He also called for “respect for symbols, especially those that refer to deputies who have had their political rights violated” and stated “that the yellow ribbon will be kept in its place alongside President Torra.”

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