Polish FM attends Velvet Revolution observances in Bratislava

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz participated on Sunday in commemorations marking the 30th anniversary of former Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, the Foreign Ministry has said.

Apart from Czaputowicz, the event was attended by Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini and the prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Hungary. The commemorations began at the Gate of Freedom Memorial, devoted to all those who were killed at the border between Czechoslovakia (today, Slovak Republic) and Austria during the Cold War, at which Czaputowicz laid flowers.

Also on Sunday, the prime ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4), comprising the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, took part in observations marking the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic's capital Prague.

Sparked on November 17, 1989 in the then Czechoslovak capital Prague after a brutal police attack on marchers commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1939 closure of Czech universities by the country's Nazi-German occupiers, the Velvet Revolution, involving mass protests and street riots, led to the fall of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, the election of prominent anti-communist dissident and playwright Vaclav Havel as the country's president in December of the same year, and Czechoslovakia's peaceful split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

Today, in memory of the events of 1989, November 17 is celebrated in the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic as Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day.