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Fifty years after his self-immolation, Jan Palach remains a symbol of defiance

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On January 16, 1969, Jan Palach set himself on fire in Prague in protest against the August 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. He died of his burns three days later. Palach’s funeral turned into a mass demonstration of opposition against the Soviet Union’s crushing of the liberal reforms of the Prague Spring.

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