The Czech Republic has commemorated the fourteenth anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the peaceful movement that brought down the communist regime in 1989. Special ceremonies took place across the country on Monday to mark the anniversary. Top officials, including President Vaclav Klaus, laid flowers and lit candles on Narodni Street in Prague where the communist police brutally cracked down on a peaceful student demonstration on November 17th, 1989. The event triggered a series of demonstrations and strikes which eventually brought an end to four decades of communist rule in Czechoslovakia.
During the second half of the 1980s, the tension that was created after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion in Czechoslovakia had eased, especially after the introduction of Mikhail Gorbachev's Perestroika reforms in the Soviet Union. The Czechoslovak leadership, however, still headed by Gustav Husak who came to power after the '68 invasion, was suspicious of movements intended to "reform communism from within" and continued to embrace a hard line. But by 1988 there were organized demonstrations demanding change and with the fall of the Berlin Wall and
Spokeswoman Anna Veverkova has revealed that the Czech cabinet has
swept aside an opposition proposal calling for compensation for victims
Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The proposal, put forward by the opposition Civic Democrats, will still, however, be debated in parliament. The Civic Democrats would like to see those who suffered under the occupation, which effectively lasted from 1968 till 1991, receive remuneration as high as millions of crowns, especially in cases where a family member was wounded, raped, or killed. To this day the complete number of victims who suffered or were killed under the occupation remains unknown.
The country's chief state prosecutor Marie Benesova has ruled that former communist functionaries Milous Jakes and Jozef Lenart will no longer be tried for their roles during the Soviet-led invasion of 1968. Both men had been tried on charges of treason for allegedly trying to legalise the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw pact troops on August 21st, 1968. Mrs Benesova's decision upholds an appeals court ruling from June that found neither man guilty as charged. Had she questioned the court's decision the Supreme Court would have been petitioned and the trials could have continued.
Police in Prague have launched an investigation after a monument to victims of the Communist era was damaged in an explosion. No-one was injured in the blast, which is believed to have occurred early on Sunday morning. Police are now examining traces of the explosive for clues as to who carried out the attack.
Police in Prague have launched an investigation after a monument to victims of the Communist era was damaged in an explosion. No-one was injured in the blast, which is believed to have occurred early on Sunday morning. Police are now examining traces of the explosive. The monument, which uses life-sized human figures to represent Communist-era political prisoners, has already been vandalised once before: in August vandals covered the statues with adhesive tape spelling out abusive slogans.
Without exception all of today's dailies highlight Tuesday's commemoration of the founding of Czechoslovakia 85 years ago - the precursor to today's Czech Republic. Vaclav Klaus commemorated the state holiday for his first time as president, discussing the country's future, calling on Czechs not to give in to pessimism, and stressing hope the country's statehood would remain strong even after joining the European Union. As is traditional on October the 28th the president then awarded the Order of the White Lion, the Order of T.G. Masaryk, honours
Karel Hoffmann, a key figure in Czechoslovakia's communist regime who appealed against a four-year jail term for his role in the 1968 Soviet invasion, has lost his appeal. The High Court in Prague raised his prison sentence to six years and changed the offence from abuse of power to sabotage. In the early hours of August 21, 1968, when Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia, Mr Hoffmann - head of telecommunications at that time - ordered Czechoslovak Radio broadcasts off the air in an attempt to keep the public in the dark about the
Making the headlines today - news that former Communist official Karel Hoffman has lost his appeal in court for his role in the 1968 Soviet-led invasion, claims that the police routinely ignore traffic regulations, and surprising reports that three-fifths of university students would be willing to pay some of their tuition fees.