Prime Minister Andrej Babiš with the Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová, visited Národní třída to commemorate the events of November 17th. The emphasis of their speeches was on the importance of freedom.
November 17th or the Day of the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy became so important after two historical demonstrations. In 1939, students protested against the Nazi occupation. Fifty years later, again, students protested against the Communist government, which led to the Velvet Revolution.
This 31st celebration happened mostly online. However, some events were held outside yet respecting the restrictions. Babiš brought flowers and candles to the memorial plaque on the facade of Kaňka’s palace. Also, he spoke about the importance of freedom.
“Those who have not experienced it may not be able to imagine it as it was before,” Babiš added. Schillerová supported his points.
Former President Václav Klaus also visited Národní třída and brought flowers to the memory plague. He gave a speech with his face mask on the chin: “We are witnessing a new intimidation of people, a new insecurity of people, censorship is spreading, fear and mutual suspicion are spreading again, and one single truth is being enforced again.” He said that such patterns were witnessed in history before. Klaus also mentioned that he doesn’t accept the decision of the government during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Somebody also brought a poster saying “We do not want the Communist normalization here”. Last year, people organized protests against Babiš but this year no demonstrations were held against him. Yesterday’s demonstrations were rather targetting the decisions made during the lockdown.
Dozens of people also gathered at the Wenceslas square protesting against the measures adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Singer Daniel Hůlka gave a speech criticizing the restrictions. People protested with banners and posters saying “Viruses are more capable than the government” and with slogans “Children to school”, “We want to work”, or “Babiš to the trash bin”.