Catalan President Quim Torra’s disobedience trial began on Monday shortly after 9 am at Catalonia’s top court in Barcelona. The head of Catalonia’s government faces a trial for disobedience and he could be barred from office and therefore sacked from his job if found guilty. Some hundred people gathered outside the court in order to back Torra on his way to the judicial building.

When listing preliminary issues in court, President Torra’s defense requested suspension of trial  because the judges have rejected accepting electoral board members as witnesses.

Torra is being prosecuted for failing to comply in time with an order from the Electoral Board to remove symbols from the front of the government building in Barcelona in the run-up to the Spanish general election at the end of April. Among those symbols were yellow ribbons to show solidarity with the Catalan leaders tried and sentenced to prison by the Spanish Supreme Court over the bid to split from Spain in 2017.

Torra initially refused to take the symbols down, claiming the order infringed the right to freedom of expression. But the Electoral Board, whose job is to monitor and supervise elections in Spain, found the symbols to be political and described them as “partisan.” By the time Torra ordered the symbols to be taken down, the deadline set by the Electoral Board had already passed. In a show of disagreement, the president had the yellow ribbon banner replaced by another one defending the right to freedom of expression.