Prague Observes Anniversary Of 1948 Communist Coup

Prague, Feb 24 (CTK) – A tree-lined path in Prague centre was named the Alley of Totalitarianism Victims in memory of people who lost their freedom and lives for their political views under the communist regime, at a meeting marking the 70 anniversary of the 1948 communist coup in Czechoslovakia held today.


Several dozen people also commemorated the victims of the Communist regime on Old Town Square in Prague centre this afternoon at a demonstration, organised by the Bez komunistu.cz (Without Communists) platform.


The new alley in memory of the victims of the totalitarian regime is situated in front of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism by the late sculptor Olbram Zoubek in a park in Ujezd.


The ceremony, attended by officials from the Prague City Hall, was part of the Mene Tekel international festival against totalitarianism and in support of national memory. Its programme runs through March 4.


The festival events are to remind of milestones in the history of the Czech Republic and other European countries and bring testimonies about the unlawful character of totalitarian regimes.


The project arose as a reaction to the lack of interest in society in the fate of political prisoners of the 1950s.


The festival’s title, Mene Tekel, is an expression from the Bible, referring to the prediction of an inevitable decline and the punishment of evil deeds.


The totalitarian period must be remembered to prevent its return, said Confederation of Political Prisoners deputy chairman Frantisek Sedivy, who was actively involved in the anti-communist resistance movement after 1948 and spent 12 years in Communist prisons, forced-labour camps and uranium mines.


The Czech Republic is thriving and people are doing well, and this is why they forget the past and do not admit that it might repeat, Sedivy said.


The proposal that a part of Ujezd bear the name Alley of Totalitarianism Victims was submitted by Prague councillor for culture Eliska Kaplicky Fuchsova.


One if the organisers of today’s demonstration in Prague centre, Petr Marek, said the participants had lit candles in memory of the people imprisoned and executed by the communist regime and the children who had died in prison where their mothers had been sent.


“It is inconceivable to us that these crimes were not investigated, punished and that justice was not installed. The victims and their families deserve this,” Marek said.


He pointed out that Czechs should have named and condemned the Communist crimes immediately after the 1989 Velvet Revolution to prevent the trivialisation and return of the past.


Musician David Koller pointed to the former members of the pre- 1989 Communist Party, Communist police officers and agents of the StB Communist secret service who occupy high posts in public administration now.


He mentioned primarily President Milos Zeman due to his stance on the annexation of Crimea and affection for Russia and Prime Minister in resignation Andrej Babis (ANO), suspected of an EU subsidy fraud and collaboration with StB.


Koller recently launched the www.90000000.cz website to get young people acquainted with “the freakshow of the main representatives of the communist arbitrary rule” in the Czech Republic and other countries.


“Some 180,000 people had to flee the country (Communist Czechoslovakia), 4,500 were murdered by the regime, 374 killed on the border and 254 in show trials,” Koller said.


Chamber of Deputies election committee deputy head Miroslava Nemcova (Civic Democrats,ODS) and TOP 09 chairman Jiri Pospisil also criticised Zeman at the meeting.


Bez komunistu.cz has prepared the “Traces of Totalitarian Past” project for school children, offering several tours around places connected with the former regime in Prague and other parts of the country.