Catalan government backs down over pro-independence banners

Catalonia's regional government has removed eye-catching pro-independence banners from its headquarters in Barcelona, hours before police were due to take them down on orders from the country's electoral board.

Workers removed Friday a large banner from a balcony on the front of the centuries-old palace, which said in Catalan and English "Free political prisoners and exiles."

That referred to the prosecution and self-imposed exile of Catalan separatist leaders for their role in a failed attempt to declare independence in 2017.

On Thursday, the regional government removed a different banner which displayed a yellow ribbon symbol used to express support for the prisoners.

Elected officials and public institutions are prohibited from expressing support for one particular party or ideological position during a campaign period.

Spain's general election is on April 28.