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Battle Of The Flags

Fireworks where Stalin once stood

Fireworks where Stalin once stood

The Czechs since January 1 hold the EU's rotating chairmanship, but Czech President Vaclav Klaus, known for his Euroskeptic views, still refuses to hang the EU flag above Prague castle. (All other state-run castles run will display the flag, though.)

That's despite the best efforts of Greenpeace, who were thwarted in their attempt to raise one yesterday.

Greenpeace did, however, the day before manage to project an image of the flag onto the castle and Prague's Charles Bridge.

Klaus has said from the get-go he won't display the 12 stars. "The castle is a symbol of Czech statehood," he said in an official statement. "There is no reason to change this historic tradition." The Czech Republic, he said, is not a province of the EU.

He was even more irked when a delegation from the European Parliament presented him with an EU flag at a meeting in December and pretty much told him he had to raise it. (Britain's "Daily Telegraph" has a fun read about that meeting.)

Some wag though has found revenge by vandalizing a huge EU flag atop one of Prague's main landmarks, a giant metronome (pictured above).

In symbolism that surely wouldn't be lost on Klaus, the metronome stands where a giant monument to Josef Stalin once stood.

-- Luke Allnutt

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at