City Council offers full support for Prague Pride following controversy

In a time-honored manner, rainbow flags will fly across the city and the Petřín Tower will light up in rainbow colors.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 25.07.2023 15:37:00 (updated on 25.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Prague City Council has overruled Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda regarding displays in support of the Prague Pride festival, which runs Aug. 7–13. The city now plans to hoist rainbow flags on the City Hall building on Mariánské náměstí and the Škoda Palace administrative center on Jungmannova Street as well as from city light poles. The Petřín Tower will again be lit in rainbow colors.

City Councilor Adam Zábranský announced on X, formerly called Twitter, that the Council approved his proposal to restore the support for Prague Pride and allow public displays as it previously did. Zábranský, a member of the Pirates, is responsible for city property and transparency.

Mayor wanted to scale back displays

Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda previously announced that the public displays in support of the festival would be scaled back compared to the previous years, as he saw that as commercial support that the city should not engage in. This sparked criticism from the festival organizers and the public. The rainbow flag first flew over City Hall in 2019.

Svoboda, a member of the Civic Democrats, defended himself by pointing out that the first Prague Pride festival took place in 2011 under his previous administration, and he supported it despite pushback from conservative and religious groups including the Prague archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

Zábranský, though, said the decision over public support had to come from the entire City Council. “The scope of support for such important actions should be determined according to the coalition agreement, not the opinion of one party. And that's what we achieved at the council today. The proposal was supported by Pirate councilors plus deputy mayors [Petr] Hlaváček and [Jiří] Pospíšil,” Zábranský tweeted after Monday's meeting.

The event is being held under the auspices of the city, and according to Prague spokesman Tadeáš Provazník, the municipality contributed CZK 700,000 to the festival and gave another CZK 123,000 to the Fun & Run charity run against homophobia and to prevent the spread of HIV. The run took place in May.

Rainbow flag at Prague City Hall in 2019. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Rainbow flag at Prague City Hall in 2019. Photo: Raymond Johnston

Roma and Sokol flags will also fly this year

Prague Pride, now in its 13th year, will offer 150 events. The parade, one of the biggest events of the summer, takes place on Aug. 12. The theme this year is traditions and their importance for the functioning of society.

The Prague City Council also confirmed that it would hang the Roma flag on its buildings on Aug. 2 to commemorate Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. The Sokol flag will also fly over both municipal buildings on Oct. 8 for Sokol Memorial Day.

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