Catalan president Quim Torra and his cabinet have decided to defy an ultimatum from the Spanish Electoral Authority and maintain the pro-independence yellow ribbons on government buildings. Torra was given a second chance to remove the ribbons, a symbol in solidarity with the Catalan political prisoners, by 5pm this afternoon—or else he would face the threat of criminal charges and at least a fine of up to 3,000 euros.

President Torra said he has requested a report from the Catalan ombudsman into the implications of the ruling on freedom of expression before taking any final decision.

Elsa Artadi, the Catalan government spokesperson, stressed that keeping the yellow ribbon in the Generalitat Palace was Torra’s decision, while his ministers decided to follow the same criteria in their own departments.

Torra has repeatedly defended yellow ribbons as enshrined in the right to freedom of expression, and dismissed electoral authority rulings deeming them as partisan and therefore unfit for public buildings during an election period.