Czechs commemorate student martyr Jan Palach’s self-immolation

16-01-2020 updated

Czechs are marking the 51st anniversary of the self-immolation of Prague university student Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest at apathy in the face of the Soviet occupation.

Memorial ceremonies have been held in Palach’s Central Bohemian hometown of Všetaty, where his childhood home recently became a museum in his honour, and towns and cities around the country.

In Prague people have gathered to pay homage to his memory on Wenceslas Square where he set himself alight, at Charles University, where he studied, and at Olsany Cemetery where he is buried.

Jan Palach died in agony on January 19, three days after setting himself on fire. Some 200,000 people turned out for his funeral. In death, he would become known as “the conscience of the nation”.