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Czech television heeds viewers’ call to broadcast speech by Slovak president

President Kiska on Tuesday will mark the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops.

President Andrej Kiska(Source: Sme - Gabriel Kuchta)

Slovak President Andrej Kiska will deliver a special speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact troops. The Slovak public-service broadcaster RTVS will broadcast the speech on its first programme on August 21, at 19:50. The Czech public-service broadcaster Česká Televízia will broadcast his speech simultaneously, on the ČT24 channel.

Czech President Miloš Zeman has not prepared a speech for this occasion and neither will he attend any commemorative event.

“Mr president delivered a courageous speech when he said during the start of the normalisation process that he did not agree with the occupation,” tweeted his spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček, as cited by the medialne.sk website. “He was ousted from his job at the Economic University for this statement. Such a statement is more valuable than the thousands of purely formal and unfaithful speeches that will be certainly be delivered on August 21.”

The tweet has raised a wave of criticism and a call by activist Robin Suchánek on Czech television to broadcast Kiska’s speech. Suchánek has organised several protest rallies against Zeman and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš .

In a letter sent to the heads of public-service Czech television and Czech radio he writes that he does not agree with Zeman’s arrogant opinions and behaviour, saying that “he is the Czech president and should at least mention the hundreds, if not thousands of victims of the Russian occupation.”

Read also:Our emigrants’ stories: lessons in humanity

The Troops of the Warsaw Pact armies, with the exception of Romania, invaded Czechoslovakia during the night of August 20. The invasion meant an end to the reform process of the Prague Spring. A period of normalisation followed.

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