Czechs mark 21st anniversary of return to democracy

17-11-2010

Czechs are marking the anniversary of the fall of communism in their country 21 years ago. On November 17, 1989, then-Czechoslovakia’s communist police cracked down on a student demonstration on Prague’s Národní třída (National street) setting in motion a series of massive protests that eventually brought down the country’s totalitarian regime. On Wednesday, the president, the prime minister and other politicians, and members of the public marked the anniversary by lighting candles or laying flowers at the memorial at Národní třída as well as other key sites.

On the day, Czechs also marked the anniversary of the student march in 1939 against the Nazi occupation, which was brutally suppressed. The Nazis raided university campuses, executing nine students without trial while deporting 1,200 to concentration camps. All Czech universities were then closed. On Wednesday evening commemorative events in the country will conclude with a prayer at Prague’s St Vitus Cathedral, followed by speeches by the president as well as Church and university representatives.