Prague, Nov 16 (CTK) – The memorial plaque marking the November 17, 1989 events leading to the fall of communism was newly unveiled on Wednesday on the facade of a house in Narodni street in Prague after it was removed from its arcade for safety reasons.

The Czech Bar Association, which owns the Kanka palace with the arcade, has decided so for fear of fire from the candles lit at the memorial. It will reconstruct the palace into its original Baroque shape and the arcade, which was built in the 1950s, will be closed from both sides.

The bronze plaque shaped as hands showing the letter V symbolising “victory” was unveiled in memory of the students’ demonstration on November 17, 1989, which was beaten up by the communist police. The most brutal clashes took place in the arcade.

The event initiated the Velvet Revolution that removed the communist regime and opened the path to democratic changes in the former Czechoslovakia.

People used to lay flowers and light candles at the memorial on the national holiday on November 17, Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy. This year they will find the memorial plaque elsewhere after 27 years.

Some people watching Wednesday’s unveiling of the memorial on the facade expressed protests against its relocation.

Passers-by were mostly lighting candles outside the closed entry to the arcade tonight and not below the relocated memorial.

Commenting on the Bar Association’s decision, Prague 1 Mayor Oldrich Lomecky only said the inviolability of private property was one of the things brought by the November 1989 events.

Outgoing Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD) who attended the ceremonial unveiling on Wednesday said he actually liked the new adjustment of the memorial on the facade and its surroundings though he had been confused by the decision at first.

Some participants in the November 1989 demonstration have criticised the moving of the memorial as an expression of disrespect for the historical events.

“It is totally impudent, you cannot move the symbolism of a place elsewhere. This place means the restoration of democracy and freedom in our country,” historian Pavel Zacek, who took part in the demonstration in Narodni street as a student, told CTK on Monday.

After the reconstruction of the palace, large-scale photographs of the November 1989 events will be permanently displayed in new big show windows of the palace.