On Wednesday evening, thousands of people attended a protest march in
Prague initiated by Million Moments for Democracy, the organization behind
the largest demonstration in the Czech Republic since the Velvet Revolution
in 1989, which brought an estimated quarter of a million demonstrators to
Prague’s Letná plain in June. Organisers say the event was attended by
10,000 people and served as a reminder of the events of the Soviet invasion
in 1968, the brutal Communist crackdown on protesters in 1969 and as a
protest against the current prime minister and president.
Attendees met on Prague's Wenceslas Square in the evening hours before heading to Hradčany Square in front of Prague Castle.
The march was part of a wider string of demonstrations organized by the group this Wednesday. These were held in 93 sites across the country, including all of the Czech Republic’s major cities.
The Czech Radio building in Prague saw the most intense violence during the Soviet-led invasion of August 21, 1968 and, as every year, hundreds of people marked the anniversary at the station on Thursday. Among them were leading politicians – and one old lady who broadcast news of the occupation to the outside world.
Events are being held in the Czech Republic marking the anniversary of
August 21 in both 1968 and 1969. Czechoslovakia was invaded by Soviet-led
troops on that date in 1968, while the following year a number of
participants in demonstrations on the first anniversary were killed in
clashes with Czechoslovak security forces.
The main memorial event on Wednesday will take place in front of Czech Radio, which was a focal point of defiance and violence in August 1968. Senior elected representatives and people who lived through that time are expected to attend.
The events of August 1969 are to be marked by a march from Wenceslas Square to Prague Castle organised by the group Million Moments for Democracy.
Dozens of other memorial events are also being held around the Czech Republic.
The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes has launched an
interactive map showing where victims of the 1968 invasion met their
deaths. It details the victims’ names and where, when and how they died
in connection with the Soviet-led invasion between August 1968 and August
The map’s co-creator, historian Milan Bárta, said that while people initially died in big cities, later victims met their deaths on country roads as the result of traffic accidents as soldiers were barred from entering cities and withdrew to the regions.
Link to map (in Czech): https://obetiokupace.dejepis21.cz/
The anti-government protest movement A Million Moments for Democracy plans
a march through Prague on the 50th anniversary of a protest held a year
after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Organisers of the march on 21 August say they want both to commemorate past events and draw attention to current political issues that threaten the Czech democracy.
The group has accused Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) of undermining the rule of law while milking Brussels and Czech taxpayers to line his own pockets.
The Czech police have recommended that Mr Babiš be charged with fraud tied to the use of EU funds. He is also accused of having a conflict of interest because many decisions he makes benefit the Agrofert business empire he founded.
In late June, A Million Moments for Democracy organised the biggest public protest since the 1989 Velvet Revolution that overthrew Communism, calling for Mr Babiš to resign.
The Australian broadcaster and writer Richard Fidler is author of two bestsellers Ghost Empire, a fascinating reconstruction of the history of ancient Byzantium, and Saga Land, a very personal journey into Icelandic history. His writing is lively and engaged, but he is also meticulous in his research. Earlier this year Richard spent two months in Prague on a residency made possible through the UNESCO City of Literature programme. He is writing a book that will look at a thousand years of Prague history, each episode told through the story of an
The Czech government has backed a proposal by some 90 MPs to proclaim 21
August, the date of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact
troops, a national holiday – Remembrance Day.
The amendment to the law on national holidays will be put to a vote in the lower house of Parliament in the coming days. It backed by MPs spanning all parties, except the Communists.
According to its authors, the invasion of 20 to 21 August 1968 was among the most tragic dates in contemporary Czechoslovak history, for having crushed the Prague Spring reforms.
“Love, tolerance and creative freedom aren’t just for fairytales”. That’s the central message of a new documentary called The Art of Dissent, which celebrates artistic engagement in Czechoslovakia before and after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion. Written, directed and filmed by the American intellectual historian James D Le Sueur, the film aims to debunk the myth that life behind the Churchillian ‘Iron Curtain’ was static and grey, and to inspire viewers through the messages of Václav Havel and fellow former dissidents.
US band the Beach Boys are set to perform in Prague’s Lucerna Music Hall
on Sunday evening, exactly 50 years ago after their first performance at
the same venue.
In 1969, the band played three concerts in former Czechoslovakia, including Prague’s Lucerna, Brno and Bratislava. The legendary last performed in the Czech capital two years ago.
The current Beach Boys lineup features original member Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, who joined the group in 1978, along with supporting musicians.
The Russian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Alexander Zmejevskij, has
assured President Zeman that Moscow has no intention of changing its
position on the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, as reflected
in the 1993 agreement between Russia and the Czech Republic.
The ambassador was summoned to Prague Castle in order to discuss a controversial draft amendment to the Russian law on veterans, which has caused much indignation among Czech officials, including the president, who called it a gross insult to the nation.
The proposed draft claims that the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops was aimed at stabilising the political situation in the country and that soldiers who took part in it were suppressing an attempted coup.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier also assured Czech and Slovak officials that there was no change to Moscow’s official policy line. The bilateral bilateral agreement signed in 1993 clearly states that the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and the deployment of Soviet troops in the country was in breach of international law.
Minister Lavrov said the draft amendment to the law on veterans presented in the Russian Duma was an isolated initiative by a single MP.