Politicians, members of public, reflect on 1989

Politicians and others have been marking the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution since Monday morning, laying wreathes and flowers and lighting candles at the memorial to student demonstrators in the centre of Prague. A long line of visitors formed, some wearing pins with the likeness of the late Václav Havel, the playwright, former dissident, and leading figure of the Velvet Revolution, who was elected Czechoslovakia's first post-communist president.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka was one of the first politicians on Monday to lay flowers; he said that 1989 represented above all a positive and key moment in Czechoslovak history, although he criticised economic steps taken during the so-called transformation period which followed. The prime minister later flew with a Czech delegation to Washington, where a bust of Václav Havel is to be unveiled in a special ceremony at the United States Capitol building. Mr Havel gave a famous speech to members of the US Congress in 1990.

Author: Jan Velinger