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Marking Candle Demonstration brings parties together

On March 25, the Sme daily asked politicians to remark on the twentieth anniversary of the Candle Demonstration, when thousands of Slovaks gathered to light candles in protest of the Communist government’s suppression of religious freedom and other human rights. Although the demonstration was broken up by police wielding water cannons, it is considered to have set the stage for the Velvet Revolution.

On March 25, the Sme daily asked politicians to remark on the twentieth anniversary of the Candle Demonstration, when thousands of Slovaks gathered to light candles in protest of the Communist government’s suppression of religious freedom and other human rights. Although the demonstration was broken up by police wielding water cannons, it is considered to have set the stage for the Velvet Revolution.

MPs from the Smer party told the daily that they will support a resolution drafted by the opposition that marks the anniversary of the demonstration. The other parties in the ruling coalition – the Slovak National Party (SNS) and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (ĽS-HZDS) - have not taken an official stance on the resolution, even though Smer has said it definitely will support it.

Political scientist Grigorij Mesežnikov thinks that Smer is being cooperative because it realises that not supporting the resolution could damage its image and because the party is trying to get in good with the Catholic Church. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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