Velvet Revolution: 20th Anniversary of the Non-Violent Revolution
Today is the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Thousands flood the street of Prague to remember the non-violent revolution that brought down communist rule 20 years ago. Vaclav Havel, who led the revolution and became the president of Czechoslovakia, also joined the march.
On November 17, 1989, about 10,000 people joined the officially sanctioned demonstration. Five thousand students decided to break off and march toward the city center to Wenceslas Square. The number kept growing as the demonstrators invite citizens to join them. Finally they were confronted by rows of riot police on Národní Street, where protesters were surrounded and beaten.
About 170 people were injured. The nation was outrage to learn that one student was killed. The news turned out to be a false rumor, possibly planted by the communist secret police. Six weeks later, the regime was brought down.
“The changes we commemorate today were undoubtedly aided by those who for long years tried to freely express themselves and testify to the real situation in our country,” said Havel, 73, who spent years in prison and was named president on Dec. 29, 1989. “I also have in mind those who supported this never- ending fight against the totalitarian power from exile.”
Today, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Jan Fischer, and hundreds in the crowd lit candles and laid flowers at the site of the police clash on Narodni Trida boulevard.
Most Recommended Comment
Omaha, Nebraska, United States