Updates: 11/17/2021 13:08
Released: 17.11.2021, 08:09
Prague – Politicians and the public are commemorating the anniversary of November 17 in Prague today. YES representatives, led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, were among the first to come to the memorial on Národní třída in the dark, so they wanted to avoid a possible clash with their critics. A representative of the President’s Office also laid a wreath at the memorial of the events of 1989, with the disapproving shouts of onlookers. On the contrary, representatives of the Spolu coalition (ODS, KDU-ČSL, TOP 09), Pirates or Mayors and Independents (STAN) received applause. At Hlávek’s dormitory, people remembered the Nazi persecution of students in 1939.
He justified the premiere on Národní třída of his early arrival by saying that he had been warned that people wanted to throw eggs at him. The place of reverence is guarded by police and no significant incidents have occurred. For example, the protesters had a banner with the words “Flowers from estébák and Rusčín collaborators really do not belong here! So maybe this is the last time this year!”. On the representative of the Office of the President of the Republic, who laid a wreath at the memorial, onlookers shouted: “Russian cockroach”.
The national class began to fill up with people around 10:00. The number of passers-by increased and the local establishments and shops began to open. The area around the monument was filled with bouquets of ribbons in national colors and candles.
Jana Maláčová, the vice-president of the CSSD, whose party dropped out of the Chamber of Deputies this year, described November 17 as an exceptional day that showed that nothing was taken for granted. Mayor Vít Rakušan called this year’s celebrations unique, as they are celebrated for the first time without the KSČM in the Chamber of Deputies. Olga Richter, Vice-President of the Pirates and House of Representatives, said that the freedom she gained allowed everyone to enter public affairs without violence. The head of the Pirates, Ivan Bartoš, considers an educated and informed society that can face pitfalls as support for democracy. Senator and unsuccessful presidential candidate Jiří Drahoš arrived at Národní, among others.
ODS chairman Fiala said that November 17 was the most beautiful holiday for him. According to him, many people have had the opportunity to start realizing their dreams and living in freedom since 1989. He also considers it a holiday of young people, because in the years 1939 and 1989, it was the students who stood up to totalitarianism. Like the Austrians provide the joy that the holiday is celebrated for the first time without the Communists in Parliament.
According to the head of the Chamber of Deputies and TOP 09, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, it is necessary to remember that one can make free choices, not only on November 17, but every day. Senate President Miloš Vystrčil told the ODS that the new parties and governments have a great chance to take advantage of the new parties and governments that the voters have given them.
People’s Chairman Marian Jurečka said that people should be actively interested in what is happening in society. In difficult times of crisis, society is beginning to divide or to radicalize part of it. It is then primarily up to politicians to mitigate this and create a positive, cultural and communicative atmosphere.
Due to convalescence on Národní třída, the mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates), did not come. With regard to the growth of the infected, he recommended that people have respirators outside at places of common celebration.
Former president Václav Klaus was one of the keynote speakers at Hlávek’s dormitory. According to him, communism was not defeated by students or dissidents, but it collapsed, like any similar conceited attempt by force to suppress human freedom. “We are worried that times are coming back that we thought could never go back,” said Klaus, a critic of measures against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The chairman of the Student Chamber of the University Council, Michal Farník, subsequently described this as an epidemic of “unnecessary trivialization”.
From the morning, people and families with children come to the memorial on November 17, 1989, light candles and lay flowers. In the morning, a man in white with a three-horned hat, who tried to place a toilet bowl between the wreaths, shouted the slogan against coronavirus vaccination. One of those present took away the porcelain bowl and police men prevented her from returning it to the site.