THE VELVET Revolution took place 24 years ago, in 1989. Several events were organised around Slovakia on November 17, which is a national holiday, to commemorate this important event in Slovakia’s modern history.
November 17 actually commemorates a chain of events in 1989 that started with student protests and lasted for a couple of weeks, all of which led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. This is known as the Velvet Revolution as the transition of power was largely non-violent.
November 17 should be viewed as Students Day, both in regard to 1939 and 1989, as in these years students played an irreplaceable role in society, Prime Minister Robert Fico said in a speech ahead of a ceremonial lunch with university students to mark the 24th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution at the Government Office on the day.
In 1939 a clash between students and German Nazis occurred in Prague on October 28, resulting in the death of several people, including medical student Jan Opletal. On November 17 his fellow students decided to organise a farewell for him, which was followed by a brutal intervention by Nazi troops, Fico recalled in his speech, adding that the day was declared International Students Day in 1941.
The prime minister said that a lot of water has flowed down the Danube River since 1989, adding that Slovakia is now a trustworthy member of the European Union, the TASR newswire reported.
Meanwhile, three opposition parties grouped within the People's Platform organised an event at the Slovak National Theatre, which hosted a number of prominent guests and was open to the public.
The opposition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) used the opportunity to criticise the current government.
"[Fico's Government] is bringing back to public and private lives a feeling from which society was liberated on November 17, 1989. It's a feeling of fear of freedom and fear of expressing one's opinions freely," SaS stated, as quoted by TASR.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
18. Nov 2013 at 14:00