On November 17, 1989, the oppressed and enslaved people of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, led by Vaclav Havel, begin their nonviolent demonstration to celebrate International Students Day and was made to commemorate the defense of the the University of Prague by students against the Nazis. It was not been meant to end the authoritarian regime but rather to change it. However, this changed when STB riot police or ”security forces” arrived to violently suppress the protests, directly resulting in the death of a student. The events of the protests sparked nation wide shock, with national protests following soon after. The years of authoritarian communist rule, political repression, and economic stagnation all led up to this day, the beginning of Czechoslovakia’s journey to freedom we now know as the Velvet Revolution, which would lead to the collapse of the government for good.
As the other oppressive communist regimes of the Warsaw Pact fell all around them. The federal parliament of the Czechslovak Socialist Republic removed parts of the constitution in order to give them total power. As protesters destroyed barricades and wire to neighboring nations like Austria, it began to be apparent that the people did not support the government. Meanwhile most communist left the government in a mass resignation, with fear of being held responsible for their actions.
The events of that day and after would lead to the establishment of a democratic government. In 1990, they held the first democratic elections since 1946 allowing the revolution’s leader, Vaclav Havel as their first president. Since 1948, they endured 41 years of oppression. Czechoslovakia would soon split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Today in 2021 the people of the Czech Republic and Slovakia celebrate 32 years of freedom. Happy Anniversary to the Velvet Revolution!