Národní comes alive November 17

Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day marks events in 1939 and 1989

November 17 is now a national holiday called Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day, marking both the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and student demonstration against the German occupation in 1939.

The biggest commemoration of the day in Prague is at Národní třída and náměstí Václava Havla, where the street and square will be closed off all day. Various groups will join together under the banner Díky, že můžem, which roughly means “Thanks that we can.”

There will also be a celebration by students at Albertov and a concert at Wenceslas Square. President Miloš Zeman will not be attending any of the events.

The event Díky, že můžem – Korzo Národní will take place from noon to 10 pm, though the main action wraps up at 8 pm. The afterparty in Rock Café starts at 8:30 pm.

It will be the fourth time that Národní třída will be transformed into a pedestrian concourse for this celebration. There will be music stages, street art, stands with food, presentations by NGOs and other entertainment. Two tram cars will show films.

The main stage at the intersection of Národní and Spálená will have a music program aimed at several generations prepared by students in collaboration with the Rock Café, which emerged shortly after the revolution in reaction to former dissent musicians and artists seeking a new venue.

The organizations Post Bellum and the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes will have a large educational display on Národní.

Readings will take place at náměstí Václava Havla, the plaza behind the National Theatre.

Díky, že můžem – Korzo Národní is organized by students, who these days are too young to remember the Velvet Revolution but are grateful for its success.

The Freedom Festival will be held at several places across Prague. It is a platform for events organized by various initiatives to recall the events associated with Nov. 17 and to promote democratic principles and values of civil society.

There will be two marches across Prague and a day-long concert at Wenceslas Square. An award ceremony for people who made significant contributions to freedom will be held at the National Theatre at 8 pm and televised on CŤ2.

A parade called “This is Not a Duck” will address the topic of fake news. The “journalist duck“ is a local term for fake news that is drawing attention from the important issues. The parade starts and ends at náměstí Republiky.

The other parade is called “Truth has No Alternative” and also looks at the issue of lies and propaganda. This one goes from Újezd to Wenceslas Square.

The concert at Wenceslas Square, called Koncert pro budoucnost 2017, runs from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm and features Laco Déczi, Lenka Dusilová, Aneta Langerová, Kapitán Demo, Vladimír Merta, Jaroslav Uhlíř and others.

Albertov will have an all-day festival from 11 am to 9 pm to remember past generations of students who contributed to freedom.

Unlike on most other holidays, stores will be open on Nov. 17,

For more information visit www.facebook.com/dikyzemuzem, dikyzemuzem.cz, www.facebook.com/festivalsvobody and www.facebook.com/events.

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