Libyan consulate in Prague raises rebel flag

Diplomats at the Libyan consulate in Prague on Monday hoisted the rebel flag for the first time as forces take control of Tripoli

Politics & Policy|Foreign Affairs
Staff Writer | 22.08.2011
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (center picture wearing read and green scarf) on a visit to the Libyan rebel stronghold Benghazi at the end of June

Diplomats at the Libyan consulate in Prague announced on Monday that henceforth they represent the National Transition Council (NTC) of the country’s rebel movement, which has taken control of practically all the country — including, as of Monday, most of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

In a symbolic gesture of the official change in allegiance, they burned the Libyan flag introduced shortly after Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969, after raising the rebels’ flag which is the same as the national flag of the pre-Gaddafi era. The diplomats also burned photographs of the Libyan leader in effigy.

Speaking to journalists gathered at the consulate, Libyan Chargé d’affaires in Prague Nuri al-Ghavi expressed appreciation towards the Czech people and government for the stance they had taken towards the developments in Libya. But at the same time, he said he was disappointed that the Czech Republic has not yet officially recognized the rebel government.    

Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09), visited the Libyan rebel stronghold Benghazi in the east of the country at the end of June and again in early July and decided to send a diplomat there. Nevertheless, Schwarzenberg said after his visit that the Czech Republic would not officially recognize the rebels until they took complete control of the country.

Al-Ghavi said he hoped the official change of allegiance at the consulate in Prague would send a clear message to the Czech government to recognize the NTC.