carried banners reading "PAC'astrophe" in reference to the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy ......................

Here is the context.

It was more je ne sais baa than quoi at the Louvre museum this morning as a flock of sheep and their farmers stormed the Paris landmark.The protesters were from the Farmers' Federation, who carried banners reading "PAC'astrophe" in reference to the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy, which is under reform.They were objecting to the effects of the industrialisation of agriculture, saying they feared for farmers' jobs."What we can see today is a desire on the part of the agricultural ministry to impose a marginalising policy which will get rid of farmers so we came here to say we don't belong to a museum and that our place is in the countryside, where we can revitalise the countryside, create jobs and develop quality produce, that's why we came here today," said a spokesman.

............. My perception : in reference to simply means " which was about" based on longman. But I have my doubts if my analysis is correct.
carried banners reading "PAC'astrophe" WHICH WAS ABOUT the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy


It sounds like the demonstrators were referring to the acronym for the Common Agriculture Policy (which is PAC in French because it is translated to "P olitique A gricole C ommune") in a Portmanteau with the word Catastrophe.

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  • 1
    +1 no doubt this is the correct answer (IMO). "in reference to" in this case means "alluding to" (as suggested by @helix). They are saying that the Politique Agricole Commune policy is, to them, a catastrophe: a PAC'astrophe. – CoolHandLouis Mar 30 '14 at 0:41

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