Czechs mark 50th anniversary of Soviet-led invasion

21-08-2018

The Czech Republic is marking the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops. A traditional commemorative ceremony took place on Tuesday morning at the Czech Radio building on Prague’s Vinohradská Street, which witnessed some of the bloodiest clashes between civilian protesters and the occupying forces.

The ceremony was disrupted by hundreds of people who gathered outside the building to protest against the presence of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, whose speech was drowned out by chanting, whistling and jeers, most focused on him allegedly having been an agent of the Communist-era secret police.

Other participants included the speaker of the Czech Senate, Milan Štěch, chairman of the lower house, Radek Vondráček, and numerous witnesses of the 1968 events. Over 100 people were killed in the first week of the invasion. An estimated 500,000 soldiers invaded Czechoslovakia in the early hours of August 21, 1968 to quell the Prague Spring reform movement.