Flag of Czech president to be returned to Prague Castle

Replaced with a giant pair of red boxers in 2015 by Ztohoven pranksters, the Czech Republic's presidential standard will be returned -- on one condition.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 07.01.2023 14:03:00 (updated on 11.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic's presidential standard, the flag of the Czech president, was memorably stolen from the roof of Prague Castle and replaced by a giant pair of red boxers by art collective Ztohoven in 2015, who were later fined but avoided criminal prosecution for their actions.

But despite previous reports, the flag was not destroyed and remains in the possession of the collective, presidential candidate and former NATO general Petr Pavel revealed in a series of tweets. He also stated that he has agreed with Ztohoven on the flag's return to Prague Castle -- on one condition.

Ztohoven will return the presidential standard to Prague Castle as long as candidate Andrej Babiš, long embroiled in controversy and currently on trial in Prague over alleged EU subsidy fraud, is not elected president, according to Pavel.

"I have arranged the return of the stolen flag from the Castle. It is not destroyed and will go back to where it belongs," Pavel writes on Twitter. "I recently learned that the presidential standard that was stolen from the Castle in 2015 does exist and was not completely destroyed as was rumored."

"Especially for those who serve the country, it has huge symbolic meaning. That's why I met with the people who took [the flag] from the Castle. And I have good news - we have agreed on a compromise. The standard will return to the Castle, but only in the hands of the new president."

"The condition for its return is that Andrej Babiš will not be the head of state."

"I don't approve of what they did, but I understand why they did it. I believe that the situation at the Castle will change in March. I want to bring back politics based on the values ​​of democracy and freedom, and I am happy that following today's agreement, the presidential standard will also return with these values."

At the time of the incident, it was reported that the flag had been cut up into smaller pieces and distributed to people around the Czech Republic. However, a member of Ztohoven using the name Petr Žílka told Czech News Agency that only part of the flag was destroyed, but the fabric base had been preserved.

According to Žílka, the group has agreed with Pavel that the flag will be returned on the condition that Babiš is not elected president. Statements made by the group on Facebook seem to confirm that this will be the case.

"Zeman is over. The time is coming for the flag to return to the castle, that is, if it doesn't return to us thanks to Bureš," Ztohoven writes, referring to the handle Babiš allegedly used as an agent for the communist secret police prior to 1989.

In addition to flying the red boxers over Prague Castle, Ztohoven has made a name for themselves through a series of headline-making pranks over the past two decades. In 2007, they hacked into a live Czech Television weather broadcast to depict an atomic bomb being detonated in the Krkonoše Mountains.

Most recently, they cut a giant Pac-Man into a rapeseed field owned by Agrofert, the conglomerate associated with Andrej Babiš, in protest of the then-Prime Minister's alleged monopolization of EU funding.

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