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Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day marked by series of events in Bucharest

On 17 November the Ambassador Jiří Šitler attended a series of events organized by the Czech Centre in Bucharest in cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute to mark the Czech Republic’s national holiday – Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day.

Among the participants in the opening panel discussion on the “Life in a totalitarian regime” was former Czech Ambassador to the UK Pavel Seifter, signatory of Charter 77. It was followed by a panel discussion on “Dealing with the past” with the participation of Vojtěch Ripka of the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. In the evening, Michal Hroza of the same institute opened the exhibition “Prague through the Lens of the Secret Police” based on the photographs found in the archives of the communist secret police. The event was rounded off by the screening of the 2010 best Czech film “Pouta” (“Walking too fast”) directed by Radim Špaček.

17 November is celebrated in the Czech Republic as the day of the struggle for freedom waged mainly by the students. On 17 November 1939, the Nazi occupying forces closed down the universities, 9 students were executed and 1200 students were sent to concentration camps. On 17 November 1989, riot police brutally suppressed a peaceful student demonstration. This event sparked the “Velvet Revolution” and led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia.