Tens of thousands of Czechs and Slovaks have taken to the streets of Prague to re-enact a mass demonstration 20 years ago that led to the end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia.
On November 17, in 1989 a crowd spent the night in Wenceslas Square calling for an end to Soviet rule. In tribute to their courage candles were placed at the site where protesters clashed with security forces. The Velvet Revolution elevated dissident playwright Vaclev Havel to the presidency. He had been at the forefront of the 1989 protests. As an underground leader he was the torchbearer for change. The mass demonstration took place a week after the fall of the Berlin Wall inspiring people to persevere with their protests against the totalitarian regime. On that historic night rumours that a student had been killed sparked a wave of fury through the crowd and prompted 12 days of angry protests. By November 28, the Communists were out and by December 29, Vaclav Havel had taken centre stage as the country’s president.