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University unveils plaque dedicated to students of 1989

Bratislava’s Comenius University unveiled a memorial plaque on Monday, November 16, dedicated to the courageous students who marched in protest for freedom and civil rights during the Velvet Revolution on November 16, 1989. The plaque initiative was organised by Comenius University in co-operation with the Nation's Memory Institute (ÚPN).

Bratislava’s Comenius University unveiled a memorial plaque on Monday, November 16, dedicated to the courageous students who marched in protest for freedom and civil rights during the Velvet Revolution on November 16, 1989. The plaque initiative was organised by Comenius University in co-operation with the Nation's Memory Institute (ÚPN).

Ivan Petranský, head of the ÚPN, emphasised the key role the students played in 1989. "They were the driving force [behind the revolutionary events known as the Velvet Revolution, or sometimes referred to as the Tender Revolution in Slovakia]," Petranský said. The rector of Comenius University, František Gahér, said that he deemed academic rights and freedoms to be among the most important elements brought about by the events of November 1989.

The ceremony was attended by the university management, ÚPN representatives, participants of the student protest march from 1989 and leaders of the SDKÚ, KDH and SMK opposition political parties. The memorial plaque displays a pair of hands with the inscription: 'To the Courageous Students of Bratislava Schools, Who Demonstrated for Student and Civil Rights On November 16, 1989'. The plaque was created by sculptor Ján Hoffstadter. The hands, displayed on the plaque, represent the symbol of connection. On the day after the original protest march the general public joined the students and hence November 17 is now a national holiday known as the Fight for Freedom and Democracy Day.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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