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Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution 30 years on

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By Ciaran Fitzpatrick  &  Óscar Valero
Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution 30 years on

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

Hundreds of thousands of Czechoslovakian citizens took part in peaceful protests, demanding the end of the communist regime.

It took only a few weeks before the ruling party surrendered and democracy was installed in the country.

By December the former dictatorship was headed by the intellectual and activist Vaclav Havel.

It was a non-violent uprising, bringing democracy to what is now the Czech and the Slovak republics, who split in 1993 - also in a peaceful way.

Thirty years later both countries are veterans of the European Union. 

Maroš Šefčovič has been an important figure in the union for many years:

The Berlin wall did not fall and the Iron Curtain was not lifted just by itself. They have been removed by the strong desire of the people, in our case Czechoslovakians, who wanted to live in a free society. They wanted to rejoin our partners in Western Europe, wanted to leave in a united, free, prosperous Europe on the free continent. That was the decisive factor why the Velvet Revolution was so successful.

Óscar Valero Valero takes a look back at this historic moment and its significance in 2019.