News

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Czech Republic marking Day of Fight for Freedom and Democracy

The Czech Republic is marking the anniversaries of the events of November 17th, 1939 and 1989. Seventeen years ago, the Velvet Revolution started in Prague which led to the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1989. The events were kicked off by a student march on November 17th, 1989 commemorating the student march of 1939 protesting against the Nazi occupation and the death of medical student Jan Opletal who was killed by the Nazis.

President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek laid flowers on Friday at the memorial to the 1989 student demonstration on Prague's Narodni street. Outgoing Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra, who took part in the march 17 years ago, also laid flowers at the plaque and joined a crowd of people bringing flowers and lighting candles there to discuss about the events of 1989.

Plaque commemorating events of November 17, 1989 revealed in Prague on eve of anniversary

On the eve of the anniversary, a memorial plaque was unveiled on Prague's Albertov street where the peaceful demonstration, which kicked off the Velvet Revolution, started on November 17, 1989. The march which turned into a protest demanding democratic reforms was stopped by riot police and many people were injured. The plaque revealed on Thursday bears the words "Who if not us, when if not now" - one of the slogans of the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

Poll: 2/3 of Czechs believe current political system is better than pre-1989 regime

A poll by the STEM agency suggests that 17 years after the fall of the communist regime, almost two thirds of Czechs believe that the current political system is better than the regime before November 1989. One fifth of the respondents said they believed the situation now was worse than before 1989 and 18 percent say they think both systems are the same.

Prague Civic Democrats support Topolanek for party chairman

The Prague organisation of the Civic Democratic Party has come out in favour of PM-designate Mirek Topolanek remaining party chairman ahead of the weekend party congress. Mr Topolanek has been supported by all regional chapters of the party. He wants to gain a clear mandate for negotiating about an interim government based on the agreement of four non-communist parties. The Prague organisation also proposed Prague Mayor Pavel Bem for first deputy chairman. He will be competing for the post with Petr Necas, the current deputy party chief.

Civic Democrat congress to decide on form of next cabinet

This weekend, a national congress of the Civic Democratic Party is to elect a new party leadership and also decide on the form of the next government, being put together by Prime Minister Mirek Toplanek. Mr Topolanek is seeking re-election as party head. Even though he has received support from all regional party branches and there is no other candidate for the post, he is expected to face criticism for the concessions he made to the Social Democrats during recent talks.

Senate abolishes deadline for claims of art objects confiscated from Holocaust victims

The Senate approved on Thursday an amendment to the law on the mitigation of some injustices caused to Holocaust victims. The amendment, passed last week by the lower house, abolishes the December 31 deadline for claims for the return of art objects confiscated from Jewish owners during WWII. The deadline for claims proved too short as not all potential claimants live in the Czech Republic and know about the possibility. The amendment has yet to be signed by the President.

Weather

The weekend is expected to be partly cloudy with maximum daytime temperatures of 12 to 14 degrees Celsius.