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Freedom and Democracy Day on November 17 commemorated two specific events in the history of the struggle of the Czech people for a free and democratic society: the 1939 resistance by student demonstrators to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, and the student protests in 1989 that resulted in the iconic Velvet Revolution. Last Saturday saw political gatherings across the country against the current premier of the Czech Republic, sparked by the latest developments in the so-called Stork’s Nest [“Čapí hnízdo”] affair.

Brno, Nov 19 (BD) – A commemorative event to mark November 17 took place at the Monument of three resistance movements on Dvořákova on Saturday morning. The city was represented by Mayor Petr Vokřál, and deputies Petr Hladík, Martin Ander, and Jaroslav Kacer. In addition, there were representatives from the South Moravian Region, the courts, the Chamber of Deputies, and the Parliament of the Czech Republic.

Early Afternoon Political Event on Malinovského Náměstí

The initiatives Million Moments for Democracy and Together Brno organized a political event entitled “End of the One Man Government” on Malinovského náměstí in the early afternoon of Saturday. People gathered to express support for efforts by opposition parties to initiate a new no-confidence vote. The event was a response to the latest developments in the ongoing police investigation into Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. “The political future of Andrej Babiš, the scandal-tainted Czech prime minister, has been plunged into fresh doubt after his son said he had been lured to Crimea and abducted to stop him testifying about alleged criminal fraud in his father’s business dealings,” according to British daily The Guardian earlier this week.

“Brno’s Seventeenth” with Memorial Lantern March

The students of Brno’s universities recalled events that should not be forgotten on náměstí Svobody at the second edition of the event known as “Brno’s Seventeenth” [“Brněnský sedmnáctý”], a reference to the significant date. The Czech national and Slovak anthems played on náměstí Svobody, opening a program of speeches and songs at 5pm.

In the evening, the Philosophy Faculty of Masaryk University organized a memorial walk with lanterns, stopping at several historically significant sites in Brno. At each stop, historians from Masaryk University held a short speech [in Czech] about the events of 1939 and 1989, and people lit candles in memory of the victims of Nazism and Communism.

See the photo gallery! Photo credit: Casadei Graphics.

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