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Czechs mark 20 anniversary of Velvet Revolution

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel opened festivities in Prague celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which toppled the communist regime in 1989.

world Updated: Nov 15, 2009 07:14 IST

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel opened festivities in Prague celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which toppled the communist regime in 1989.

Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega and Joan Baez performed at the concert, on Havel's request Saturday. Revellers also watched video messages from US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Obama said: "Your courage inspired the world," while Merkel recalled the massive demonstrations at Wenceslas Square in Prague that eventually led to freedom.

On Nov 17, 1989, a crack down by riot police on a peaceful student protest in Prague, kicked off the Velvet Revolution.