Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Jan Palach

Today was the 50th anniversary of the day that Jan Palach set himself on fire.

Jan Palach was a history and political economy student in Prague.  He lit himself on fire to protest the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia which put down Alesander which put down Alexander Dubček's liberal reforms known as the Prague Spring.  He died a few days later in hospital.

His funeral turned into a huge political protest against the occupation.

In 1989, there were anticommunist demonstrations in Prague from 15 - 21 January.  As this was the 20th anniversary of Palach's death it was referred to as "Palach Week".  The police suppressed the protests by beating the demonstrators and using water cannons.  This is considered one of the key events leading up to the Velvet Revolution that brought down the communist government ten months later.

Every 16 January is Jan Palach Remembrance Day.

Last year a Czech film was released but I still haven't seen it.  Here's the movie trailer for Jan Palach that I found out on YouTube.

Here's a news clip from AFP with footage from tonight's 50th anniversary in Prague.

©AFP News Agency

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