Czechs marking anniversary of Jan Palach’s self-immolation

Czechs are marking the 52nd anniversary of the self-immolation of Prague university student Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Although the traditional commemorative events marking the anniversary are not taking place this year due to the Covid epidemic, flowers and candles appeared on Saturday at the site where Palach set himself on fire at the top end of Wenceslas Square and in his home town of Všetaty.

Among those who came to pay homage to Palach were a group of senators, led by the Speaker of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil.

Jan Palach died in agony on January 19, three days after his desperate protest. Some 200,000 people turned out for his funeral. He was later hailed as “the conscience of the nation”.