Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day in the Czech Republic and Slovakia Date in the current year: November 17, 2017

Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day in the Czech Republic and Slovakia Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day is a public holiday celebrated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia on November 17. It commemorates two historical events that occurred on this day: the student demonstration against Nazis in 1939 and the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

On October 28, 1939, Jan Opletal, a student of the Charles University in Prague, was shot in the stomach during an anti-Nazi demonstration. He died on November 11. His funeral on November 15 turned into another demonstration, As a result, all Czech universities and colleges were closed, over a thousands students were sent to concentration camps, and 9 students were executed on November 17, 1939.

The Velvet Revolution was a non-violent overthrow of communist regime in Czechoslovakia. On November 16, 1989, students held a peaceful demonstration in Bratislava, which was followed by a larger demonstration in Prague the next day. The demonstration of November 17 was suppressed by riot police, which led to a series of riots. On November 28, the Communist Party relinquished power. On December 29, opposition leader Václav Havel became the new president of Czechoslovakia.

Following the Velvet Revolution, November 17 was designated as a public holiday in Czechoslovakia. When the country split into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in 1993, both newly independent states continued to celebrate Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day on a national level.

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Category

Public Holidays

Country

Czech Republic, Slovakia

Tags

Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day, holidays in Slovakia, holidays in the Czech Republic, public holidays, Velvet Revolution