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European Union: Protest flags

Last modified: 2022-07-09 by ivan sache
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European Union flag with inverted colors (2019)

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European Union flag with inverted colors - Image by Ivan Sache, 8 May 2022

Marine Le Pen, leader of the French party Rassemblement National (formerly, Front National) published on 3 January 2019 on her official Twitter account the image of a European Union flag with inverted colors - yellow with blue stars. The flag was presented as the "standard of Europe of peoples". By a "mere coincidence", the yellow background recalls the Yellow Vests movement, a populist, grassroots movement that emerged in France in late 2018.
At the end of her first meeting in the campaign for the European Parliament election, held on 19 January 2019 in Le Thor, near Avignon, Marine Le Pen was offered a "present". Soon unfolded, the "present" appeared to be a copy of the European Union flag with inverted colors (photo, photo).

Marine Le Pen was criticized for her blunt attempt to "solicit" the Yellow Vests' votes, as did other candidates to the election. Maybe as a consequence, the European flag with inverted color disappeared from her further communication. "Prenez le pouvoir", supported by Marine Le Pen, was the most voted list at the election (23.33% of the votes), securing 23 Representatives.
More generally, the inverted flag issue highlights Marine Le Pen's hate for the European Union flag. Proposal No. 93 in her program for the 2018 presidential election was "To hoist permanently the French flag on all public buildings and remove the European Union flag from them". In April 2017, when invited to the TV program "Demain, Président" by the TF1 channel, she asked the European Union flag usually displayed in the background to be removed, which was done.
In 2014, David Rachline, elected Mayor of Fréjus for the (then) Front National, immediately ordered to remove the European Union flag from the Town Hall. The same year, Philippe de Beauregard, elected Mayor of Camaret-sur-Aigues, for the (then) Front National, removed the European Union flag from the town's schools. Upon administrative request, he was forced to re-establish the flag, which he did, but using a flag much smaller than the neighboring flags of France and Provence.
[LCI, 27 February 2017; 20 Minutes, 19 April 2017; 20 Minutes, 16 April 2014; France Bleu, 13 May 2019]

Ivan Sache, 8 May 2022


"European Union Rebel Alliance" flag (2018)

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"European Union Rebel Alliance" flag - Image by Tomislav Todorović, 4 November 2018

On 13 July 2016, during the protests organized in London against the visit of USA president Donald Trump, a European Union flag with the emblem used by the Rebel Alliance of the Star Wars, depicted in the same yellow color as the stars, was used (photo).
The whole design also bears the similarity with the emblem and flag of the New Republic of the Star Wars, as were attributed to it in older media now branded the Star Wars Legends. The users' intention was clearly to denote their opposition to Trump's policies by identifying him and his government with the Galactic Empire of the Star Wars, against which the Rebel Alliance is fighting. The same identification was probably aimed at UK government of the time, which was leading the country out of the European Union and was also considered too supportive of Trump's policies.

Tomislav Todorović, 4 November 2018


Icelandic anti-European flag (2010)

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Anti-European flag used in Iceland - Image by Ivan Sache, 12 September 2010

A protest flag made of the European Union flag with a red saltire - probably made of adhesive tape added on a "plain" flag - was used during a street demonstration organized in Reykjavik on 22 November 2008 photo.

Ivan Sache, 12 September 2010


"Chinese European Union" flag (2008)

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"Chinese European Union flag" used in Sweden - Image by Eugene Ipavec & Željko Heimer, 19 November 2009

People demonstrating in June 2008 in Göteborg against the increasing government watch over the Internet and claiming Sweden and the European Union are becoming more and more like Communist dictatorships, which they don't like, use the flag of People's Republic of China with red replaced by medium blue photo).

Elias Granqvist & António Martins, 30 October 2009


"Bolkestein Go Home" flag (2005)

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"Bolkestein Go Home" flag - Image by Eugene Ipavec & Joe Mc Millan, 18 September 2011

A protest flag (photo) used in Brussels, 2005, was not against the EU itself but against a specific EU policy, the Bolkestein Directive, named after former European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein.
The homemade flag in the photo has the EU stars serving as a canton to the US flag; I guess the intended message is that the directive was trying to Americanize the European labor market. If so, it is basically a counterpart to the mock-Chinese EU flag.
Resemblances to early US flags with the stars in a circle are, I imagine, coincidental.

Eugene Ipavec, 18 September 2011


Polish anti-European flag (2002)

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Anti-European flag used in Poland - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 December 2002

A TV guide shows a picture probably taken during a anti-European Union demonstration somewhere in Poland. Two flags are shown, a Polish national flag and a European Union flag defaced with a red cross in saltire. There is no legend to the picture, only a credit to AFP (Agence France Presse).
The flag undoubtly promotes rejection of the adherence to European Union. The picture is too small to check the details of the flag but the "no" cross was probably made with red sticky tape.

Ivan Sache, 18 December 2002


Yugoslavian protest flag (1999)

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Anti-European flag used in Yugoslavia - Image by António Martins, 26 August 2003

A regular European Union flag with a golden swastika (standing on a side) on the middle was used in a demonstration protesting against perceived European Union cooperation in the NATO bombings against Yugoslavia in 1999.

António Martins, 26 August 2003