Barcelona fans must leave their flags at home

Barcelona and Sevilla will play against each other in the Copa del Rey final on Sunday. But the Spanish government has issued a ban on Catalan independence flags at the event on the grounds that they are a symbol of separatism. Spanish commentators see the ban as a very dumb idea.

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El Mundo (ES) /

Ban is illegal and dumb

It its editorial the centralist and conservative daily El Mundo condemns the ban as illegal and also foolish from a strategic point of view:

“Nobody can ban something that is legally permitted and is protected as freedom of expression by the constitution. Neither the separatist nor the republican flags are illegal, and consequently no one can prevent people from bringing them to public events. It would be another matter if they were hung from town halls or public institutions, which constitutes a criminal offence. In such cases the courts must take action, and that is what they did. Moreover it seems to us that it would be very difficult to put this measure into practice effectively because that would mean subjecting all those who attend the events to a thorough search. Finally, we also believe that the ban will only aggravate a problem that already exists and results from the fact that the nationalists are trying to politicise sports events.” (ES) /

Row a ruse to divert attention from corruption

The government in Madrid is using the ban to start a fight that will divert attention from its corruption scandals, the left-leaning news site rails:

“Neither the law nor common sense are on its side. But they don't care. They prefer to provoke a row over a football match or fuel an institutional conflict as long as it allows them to conceal their pitiful corruption scandals. The People's Party specialises in this kind of diversionary manoeuvre. … But the pile of turd is getting so big, so malodorous that even in Catalonia they won't be able to find enough flags to cover it up.”