Prague, Czech Republic – The 2019 Czech Press Photo Prize was awarded to Lukáš Bíba, from Economia, for an anti-government protest picture that has become iconic and illustrative of Czechs’ discontent, three decades after the fall of communism.
Seen above, the picture shows a Czech flag being waved by a protester on top of a building on Milady Horakove avenue, during a mass anti-government protest held in June on Prague’s Letna Plain.
The demonstration, which drew some 250,000 Czechs to the streets calling for Prime Minister Andrej Babis to resign, was the biggest protest organized since the end of communism. Another one, which gathered around 300,000 demonstrators according to the organizers, was held on November 16, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
According to the jury of the Czech Press Photo Award, which selected the winner out of nearly 4,000 submissions, the snapshot captures the complicated social and political context, where hundreds of thousands of Czechs demand the resignation of Premier Andrej Babis although his governing ANO party remains the most popular in the polls.
“Like most of my colleagues, I tried to capture the protest at Letna from all possible angles”, laureate Lukáš Bíba explained, first from the ground, then moving up to the roof to get a complete view of the mass of protesters stretching all over Letna.
Several well-known photographers, such as Jan Šibík, Tomki Němec and Milan Jaroš, decided not to take part in this year’s edition, claiming the award and the competition have lowered their standards.
To check out all the finalists and other laureates from the 2019 edition, you can visit the website of the Czech Photo Award.