Friday, 17 August 2018

London gallery hangs out red trunks in hint at Prague event

ČTK |
23 July 2018

London/Prague, July 21 (CTK) - The Red Gallery in London has hung out a giant pair of red trunks, hinting at the Czech Ztohoven artistic group's action from 2015, when they climbed the roof of Prague Castle to replace the president's flag with huge red trunks in protest against President Milos Zeman.

"Aint No Politician Will Burn These Red Pants," the gallery has written on its website with a photo of the trunks on the facade of its seat, alluding to Zeman, who had the trunks from Ztohoven ceremonially burnt down a couple of weeks ago.

Three years ago, Ztohoven members, disguised as chimney sweepers, installed the huge trunks instead of the presidential flag atop Prague Castle, the seat of Czech presidents, later explaining the step as their protest against Zeman's behaviour as president.

Simultaneously, Ztohoven released a statement, saying: "Today we hung a banner over the castle for a man who is not ashamed of anything."

A court imposed suspended sentences on the artists.

A pair of red trunks eventually became a symbol of resistance against Zeman in the country.

The Red Gallery has labelled Zeman (former Czech PM, in presidential office since 2013) a politician who uses populist rhetoric similar to U.S. President Donald Trump and British anti-EU politician Nigel Farage.

Zeman is "well known for his pro-Russian and pro-China orientation of the Czech Republic that doesn't necessarily reflect the wish of its citizens," the gallery wrote.

"London was a centre of Czech exile government during WW2 and most of the resistance against the Nazi regime came from here. It was an obvious choice to take the Red pants to London to show our greatest support to Czech avantgarde and to global political activism," the gallery continued.

Introducing Ztohoven and its previous actions, often provocative, the gallery also noted that the group's name is a Czech-language pun meaning either "z toho ven" (the way out) or "sto hoven" (the hundred turds).

Ztohoven thanked the gallery on Facebook for its display of solidarity.

"Non-flammable trunks? The story continues in London. We thank Red Gallery for everything," the group wrote.

On Twitter, Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek reacted writing that "red trunks are no symbol of populism. They are a flag of hateful 'liberals', a contemporary red flag of their ideology of totalitarianism and freedom suppression."

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