Source Pravda.Ru

Czech Republic: president marks anniversary of Velvet Revolution

Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Thursday marked the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution that toppled the communist regime in his country and expressed frustration that some Czechs were unsatisfied by the freedom they had gained.

The liberation of Czechs from the thousands of orders and bans imposed on them by the country's communist leaders was "an enormous gift," Klaus said.

"It depresses me that the gift is not being adequately appreciated, that there still are people who think that freedom is not enough," Klaus said on Czech Radio. "We have to again and again patiently explain that freedom is all we can offer, and then it is up to them whether they realize their potential in this free world," he said.

Later in the day, hundreds of mostly young people gathered in downtown Prague to protest the rising influence of communists in Czech society.

A chain of people holding candles stood between the Communist Party headquarters and the nearby site that was home to the gestapo in Prague during World War II.

"That was important, because it showed that the two ideologies, the Nazi ideology and the communist one, are equal," said Jaromir Stetina, a lawmaker calling for a ban of the communists here.

Former President Vaclav Havel and former German President Richard von Weizsaeker also attended the event.

Many Czechs, used to the social security provided by the former communist regime, still tend to rely on the state and have been hard hit by the rising cost of living. Many have expressed resentment over differences in wealth, which they had not experienced during the former egalitarian regime.

Klaus, an economist by profession, entered politics as Czechoslovakia's first post-communist finance minister. He then served as Czech prime minister after the country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. In February 2003, Klaus was elected Czech president, reported AP. P.T.

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