PHOTO GALLERY: Prague celebrates anniversary of 1989 Velvet Revolution

Thousands gathered in the city center to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution with a street festival, candle lighting, and events. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 18.11.2023 09:50:00 (updated on 18.11.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

Thousands gathered in the center of Prague on November 17 to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, joining a street festival filled with events. Organized by Díky, že můžem (Thanks That We Can), the event on Národní třída saw an estimated 80,000 attendees despite the cold weather.

The festival featured program that included a symbolic lighting of candles at the November 17 memorial plaque, which honors the 1989 student protest that led to the fall of the communist regime.

One highlight was the rendition of A Prayer for Martha, the anthem of the Velvet Revolution originally sung by Marta Kubišová, under the balcony of the Metro Palace. Crowds gathered to listen, and the song was sung collectively, accompanied by live videomapping. The day also included lectures, discussions, and a literary reading dedicated to the late Olga Havel on Václav Havel Square.

As the day progressed, the celebration moved to Wenceslas Square, culminating during the Concert for Future. Thousands listened to musical performances by artists including Aneta Langerová, Dunaj, Buty bands, Lipo, and Vladimir518.

The program, centered on the interrelationship between nature, man, and machines, lasted five hours and filled the upper and middle parts of the square. During the concert, the Czech national anthem was performed on the balcony of the Metro Palace by Czech-Portuguese singer Annamaria d'Almeida.

Notable figures, including architect Eva Jiřičná and priest/philosopher Tomáš Halík, gave short speeches. Halík specifically addressed the younger generation, urging them to protect democracy and avoid the pitfalls experienced by other nations.

Sociologist Ivan Gabal, co-founder of the Civic Forum established during the Velvet Revolution, emphasized the responsibility of Czechs for their nation's development. He highlighted the unique period of self-governance experienced since 1989, encouraging citizens to take charge of their destiny.

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