Prague, Nov 17 (CTK) – Up to 40,000 people turned up in the Národní street in the centre of Prague where celebrations of the Velvet Revolution 30th anniversary took place today, and a similar crowd attended the evening Concert for the Future in the nearby Wenceslas Square, the police have said.
The latter event included a videomapping event marking 30 years since the fall of communism, speeches of personalities such as priest Vaclav Maly, lawyers Jiri Priban and Jan Kysela, journalist Lida Rakusanova, Vaclav Havel Library director Michael Zantovsky and former student leaders Martin Mejstrik and Simon Panek.
People also heard a video message from the Tibetan Dalai Lama, who called on Czechs to contribute to world peace by promoting ex-president Vaclav Havel’s legacy.
The Dalai Lama expressed admiration for the principles of the European Union that was founded based on peace. He said he continues striving for peace on the Earth, and added that he will never forget Havel.
Havel (1936-2011), a former dissident and the Velvet Revolution protagonist, met the Dalai Lama repeatedly in his capacity as the first Czechoslovak post-communist president in 1989-1992 and the first president of the Czech Republic in 1993-2003.
The Narodni street was the venue of the communist police’s brutal crackdown on a peaceful student demonstration on November 17, 1989, which triggered the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.
Crowds of people beleaguered the plaque in the Narodni street that commemorates the November 17, 1989 events, surrounding it with thousands of burning candles today.
Despite the crowd’s size, no problems have occurred during the celebrations, the spokespersons for the medical service and the police have told CTK.
Celebrations of the fall of communism anniversary were held in many towns and villages across the Czech Republic today.
In Brno, for example, about 2,000 people joined the paper lanterns parade as part of local student celebrations, which also offered concerts and speeches of university rectors, the organisers have told CTK.