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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 18:38 GMT
Mayor paints town red - and yellow and blue
Romanian tricolour
Cluj's street furniture already boasts national colours
An ultra-nationalist Romanian mayor has given orders for city pavements to be painted in the colours of the national flag - red, yellow and blue.

The people are tired of looking at the same old dirty gray pavements

Mayor Gheorghe Funar

Gheorghe Funar, the mayor of Cluj in Transylvania, said two roads would soon be painted in the colours, and others would be painted in future.

The colour scheme has already been used to decorate the city's park benches and traffic lights, while the national flag flutters from numerous buildings in the city centre.

Inspiration or insult?

Mr Funar said his inspiration came during a visit to the South Korean city of Suwon, where he saw pavements painted in the national colours of Korea.

"The people will enjoy the colours, because they are tired of looking at the same old dirty gray pavements," he told on the local radio.

But a number of residents have criticised the mayor's project, saying that walking on the Romanian colours is an insult to the national symbol.

Local councillors are also opposed to the idea, and to other expensive projects favoured by the mayor.

Artistic toothpicks

Gheorghe Funar, a member of the Greater Romania party, is renowned as an outspoken politician.

Gheorghe Funar, Mayor of Cluj
Funar: Taste for anti-Hungarian rhetoric
He has a taste for anti-Hungarian rhetoric, which he is happy to indulge despite Cluj's large ethnic Hungarian minority.

Earlier this year he was briefly detained by the police for obstructing a meeting of the local council.

He placed cow bones and three toothpicks painted red, yellow and blue on the local councillors' desks.

This resulted in the suspension of the city session.

The mayor claimed then that his action was a contemporary art exhibition.

See also:

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