Protests broke out in Prague Saturday on the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution after courts confirmed that Prime Minister Andrej Babis collaborated with the StB, the Communist era secret police. About 300,000 protesters took to the streets demanding the prime minister’s resignation and supporting democracy, European unity, and NATO [HT:Cipher Brief].
Saturday’s demonstration, organized by the Million Moments for Democracy movement, was designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary, but also to draw attention to what critics contend is a dangerous drift away from its ideals, reports suggest.
In 1989, just eight days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a student protest against communist rule was violently put down in Prague, the Czechoslovak capital. The crackdown on November 17 only strengthened the protest movement and, within days, hundreds of thousands of people were on the streets, RFE/RL adds. By the end of the month, the Communist Party agreed to hold free elections. In December 1989, dissident playwright Vaclav Havel was elected president by the country’s Federal Assembly, marking the beginning of a new democratic era.
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