Czechs remember 31st anniversary of Velvet Revolution

This Tuesday, November 17, the Czech Republic marks the 31st anniversary of the brutal crackdown by state police on protestors on Narodni trida, Prague, which sparked the Velvet Revolution and the end of communism in 1989.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, whose controversial past of being an agent of the Communist State Security service is often raised during this anniversary, laid flowers by the memorial to the events on Národní třída on Tuesday morning, saying that those who have not tasted freedom find it hard to understand its value. Several other leading politicians and state representatives have done the same, including Health Minister Jan Blatný who said the unity shown by the country in the Velvet Revolution is needed today in order to tackle the coronavirus epidemic.

November 17, is also the anniversary of the Nazi closure of universities in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939. This event was honoured on Tuesday by students who laid wreaths at Hlávek College, the traditional place of remembrance of the event.

The Czech police are asking the public to stay at home on the national holiday, in order to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. Most of the celebrations of what is known as “Struggle for Freedom Day” are taking place via an online format this year, due to the epidemic.

Author: Tom McEnchroe