Remembering Student Protests in Prague November 17

Quite a number of events took place in Prague on this day to commemorate the November 17, 1989 events. Unlike Germany, almost all of the events were civic initiatives, not organized by the state. The events were not spared public contestation, however, and there were some parallels with Budapest.

The one Czech-state-organized event took place with a short, small ceremoney in the morning: President Vaclav Klaus arrived at the building where a plaque commemorating the 1989 uprising took place, to lay a wreath. He was met by a small crowd of demonstrators and counter-demonstrators. Students who oppose his policy philosophies, which include vocal critiques of EU “Europeanism,” which he views as a new socialism, were present with banners and chants. His supporters had their own chants: “Long Live Klaus!” to which the students responded “Somewhere else!” Klaus was able to lay the wreath, and then disappeared into the historic Louvre cafe.

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