The New Town in Prague, particularly Wenceslas Square, was grounds for many famous demonstrations during the communist era. This square was host to events from the famous Prague spring uprising against the soviets in 1968 (this is when the people first began to rise up against corruption,) to November 1989 when this square was filled every evening with hundreds of thousands of people protesting communism.
It all started when on November 17th (international student day) when a student group was legally authorized by the government in a certain location to commemorate the Nazi Germany occupation in Czech which resulted in the storming and closing down of the Universities and the execution of students and professors.
This rally turned into an anti-communism demonstration with a fast growing mob that ended up in Wenceslas Square. This quite unexpectedly sparked a series of demonstrations for weeks after with more and more protesters each time. Rally’s estimated to up to a million people at one point. The revolution gradually spread to other cities in Czech. Within days of the initial Nov 17th rally the entire communist government resigned. By the end of that December, the 41 years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia was dissolved.
Prague’s Stalin monument, the world’s largest representation of the leader, was destroyed with 800 kg of explosives.
One of the main symbols of the demonstrations was keys being jingled by the masses of people in the mob marking the last days of communism. I was lucky enough to get a photo in front of the collected keys of the revolution in Prague. It spells “Rejoice.”
It’s important to note that all of Prague’s demonstrations were peaceful despite the government’s violent retaliation such as bringing in tanks, tear gas and arresting students. In response, protesters offered white carnations to the armed police. This is truly amazing especially knowing that many of the surrounding countries were retaliating violently with no progress. Many think this peaceful approach was due a good leader that became the countries president after the fall. If they had retaliated violently, the results could have turned out much different. It is also important to note that students were the main driver in the many demonstrations. They organized committees and organizations that began the revolution. The passion and determination for change and freedom the young people had was astonishing. It really shows how much power our young people have in this world if they are motivated enough and go about it the right way. This also shows that if society unites together, anything is possible. The government knew it couldn’t fight the society as a whole and were overthrown within a week of the revolution.
To be continued… my experience as a tourist… posts communism effects
(All photos with me in them are mine, all others are from the internet)