28 Years Later: Czechs Mark Anniversary of Velvet Revolution with Protests and Celebrations

Prague, Nov 17 (CTK) – Czechs are remembering the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that led to the fall of the country’s communist regime in 1989 and politicians are laying flowers or lighting candles at a memorial of the calm student rally that was suppressed by the police in Prague centre 28 years ago.


The Narodni Trida street in the city centre has been full of people and various programmes and performances are held there.


ANO leader Andrej Babis, who was the first to lay flowers early morning, faced his critics who remembered his alleged collaboration with the Czechoslovak communist secret police (StB) and his suspected subsidy fraud.


In reaction, Babis said everybody had freedom of speech thanks to the Velvet Revolution.


When Tomio Okamura, leader of the anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, arrived at the memorial plaque, people from the crowd that was gathered in the street whistled and shouted “Shame!” at him.


On the contrary, people applauded to presidential candidate Jiri Drahos who appreciated the role played by late President Vaclav Havel.


Senate chairman Milan Stech (Social Democrats, CSSD) and leaders of other political parties, including Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09), Ivan Bartos (Pirates) and Petr Gazdik (Mayors and Independents, STAN), arrived at the memorial as well.


The far-right Workers’ Party of Social Justice (DSSS) organised a rally in which about a hundred of people took part. Two of the participants clashed with heavily-armed police officers and were arrested.


Students traditionally organised a carnival moving through the capital city. The parade of masks highlighted fake news, sexual violence, food waste, homeless people and bad protection of postwar architecture today.


At a gathering in the Charles University premises in Prague-Albertov, Masaryk University Rector Mikulas Bek warned against a dictate of public referendums and the effort to run the state like a business.


The rich businessman Babis, possible future prime minister, said the state should be run like a business to be more effective. Okamura wants people to decide in a referendum whether the Czech Republic should leave the European Union.


Concerts and celebrations are held in several places in the city centre as well as in other cities and towns in the country today.


The events of 1939 when the Nazis closed Czech universities and one Czech student was killed are remembered today, too