For the 30th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution, bridges over the Vltava River, including the Charles Bridge and Old Town Bridge Tower, Prague, Czech Republic
© Markus Lange/Offse
Remembering the Velvet Revolution. Remembering the Velvet Revolution
Today we're in Prague for the 30th anniversary of the start of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution. On 17 November 1989, 15,000 students gathered in Prague to commemorate International Students’ Day. They began demonstrating against the Communist Party's authoritarian rule over the country and marched to the centre of the city but when they reached Národní Street, they were met by security forces who, after blocking all escape routes, began attacking.
Afterwards, unfounded rumours of an injured or possibly dead student triggered strikes among students, actors and other theatre workers. Within days, there were mass demonstrations in Prague's Wenceslas Square which spread to other cities. By 27 November, 75 per cent of the population took part in a general strike across the country. Demonstrators and dissidents brought a non-violent end to communist rule over Czechoslovakia by 10 December and, within months, Soviet troops would leave the country.