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A Look Back At The Velvet Revolution, 25 Years Later

On November 17, Slovakia and the Czech Republic remember 25 years since the Velvet Revolution. Eight days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a student protest against communist rule was violently put down in Prague. The following day, theaters went on strike and students occupied university campuses. Within days hundreds of thousands of people were on the streets, and by the end of the month the Communist Party agreed to hold free elections. In December, dissident playwright Vaclav Havel was elected president by the country's Federal Assembly and democracy was restored.
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The first demonstrations took place in January 1989. Protesters marking 20 years since Czech student Jan Palach self-immolated in protest against the Soviet-led invasion of 1968 were brutally dispersed by police.  
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The first demonstrations took place in January 1989. Protesters marking 20 years since Czech student Jan Palach self-immolated in protest against the Soviet-led invasion of 1968 were brutally dispersed by police.

 

There were more demonstrations in August, marking the actual anniversary of the 1968 invasion. The first cracks were appearing in communist rule.
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There were more demonstrations in August, marking the actual anniversary of the 1968 invasion. The first cracks were appearing in communist rule.

The next protest was held on October 28, 1989, the anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Demonstrators flashed victory signs as they demanded freedom and democracy on Wenceslas Square in Prague.
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The next protest was held on October 28, 1989, the anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Demonstrators flashed victory signs as they demanded freedom and democracy on Wenceslas Square in Prague.

The turning point came on November 17, 1989, with the biggest protest for 20 years. Thousands of students marched peacefuly through the city center until they were stopped at Narodni (National) Street by a cordon of riot police.
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The turning point came on November 17, 1989, with the biggest protest for 20 years. Thousands of students marched peacefuly through the city center until they were stopped at Narodni (National) Street by a cordon of riot police.

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