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30,000 rally

Over 30,000 people gathered on Bratislava's Námestie SNP in freezing weather on March 25 to promote a petition demanding a fair election law and direct Presidential elections.

Meeting on the 10th anniversary of a candle-light rally for religious freedoms - the first anti-regime demonstration in post-1968 communist Czechoslovakia - the crowd cheered vigorous denunciations of the government and calls for fair elections by former President Michal Kováč and leaders of the biggest opposition bloc, the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK).

Kováč spoke at length of "the desire of millions of citizens for freedom and for lives of human dignity." These desires, he said, were being frustrated by the government. "Now we are facing the arrogance and intolerance of the ruling power," he continued, "and fear and skepticism is growing among the people."

Vol. 4 No. 7, Apr. 9-22, 1998

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