• Short Summary

    THE CZECH CABINET MET THIS MORNING (WEDNESDAY) IN PRAGUE TO DISCUSS THE DEFECTION OF GENERAL JAN SEJNA, THE MAN WHOSE SECRET JOURNEY TO THE UNITED STATES PRECIPITATED THE CURRENT WAVE OF PRESSURE FOR THE RESIGNATION OF PRESIDE NOVOTNY, THE PRESIDENT HAS REMAINED IN HIS PALACE, REFUSING TO YIELD, BUT THROUGHOUT CZECHOSLOVAKIA CENSORED HAS BEEN LIFTED, AND PEOPLE ARE OPENLY DISCUSSING AND CRITICISING THE RUNNING OF THEIR COUNTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE COMMUNIST CAME TO POWER 20 YEARS AGO.

  • Description

    THE CZECH CABINET MET THIS MORNING (WEDNESDAY) IN PRAGUE TO DISCUSS THE DEFECTION OF GENERAL JAN SEJNA, THE MAN WHOSE SECRET JOURNEY TO THE UNITED STATES PRECIPITATED THE CURRENT WAVE OF PRESSURE FOR THE RESIGNATION OF PRESIDE NOVOTNY, THE PRESIDENT HAS REMAINED IN HIS PALACE, REFUSING TO YIELD, BUT THROUGHOUT CZECHOSLOVAKIA CENSORED HAS BEEN LIFTED, AND PEOPLE ARE OPENLY DISCUSSING AND CRITICISING THE RUNNING OF THEIR COUNTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE COMMUNIST CAME TO POWER 20 YEARS AGO.

    THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE, GENERAL LOMSKY, WAS TODAY'S CABINET TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED LAST JANUARY WHEN A TANK DIVISION WAS SECRETLY MOBILISED AS THE COMMUNIST COMMITTEE OUSTED PRESIDENT NOVOTNY FROM THE PARTY LEADERSHIP.

    LAST NIGHT THE ENORMOUS CHANGES OF THE LAST FEW DAYS WERE MADE VERY EVIDENT WHEN GENERAL LOMSKY WENT ON TELEVISION TO EXPLAIN TO THE PEOPLE WHAT HAD HAPPENED. HE DENIED COMPLICITY IN THE MOBILISATION, AND ATTACKED GENERAL SEJNA, WHO HAS BEEN OPENLY ACCUSED OF MOBILISING THE TANKS TO BACK PRESIDENT NOVOTNY, A PERSONAL FRIEND OF HIS.

    THE NEW FREEDOM OF SPEECH MEANS MORE THAN THE UNPRECEDENTED SPECTACLE OF A MINISTER EXPLAINING, IT ALSO MEANS PUBLIC COMMENT. ONE YOUNG SOLDIER IN A PRAGUE CAFE LAST NIGHT WAS COMPLAINING THAT THERE HAD NEVER BEEN FREE ELECTION IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA, AND HOPING THAT THOSE SCHEDULED FOR LATER THIS YEAR WOULD FOR THE FIRST TIME OFFER A REAL CHOICE, AS HAS BEEN PROMISED BY MR. ALEXANDER DUBCEK, THE MAN WHO TOOK OVER THE PARTY LEADERSHIP FROM MR. NOVOTNY.

    YOUNG PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY STUDENTS, HAVE BEEN IN THE FOREFRONT IN SEIZING THE SUDDEN NEW OPPORTUNITIES. THEIR ADMIRATION FOR JAN MASARYK, PUBLICLY EXPRESSED IN PILGRIMAGES TO HIS GRAVE NEAR PRAGUE, IS SYMBOLIC OF THEIR NEW FREEDOM.

    MASARYK WAS THE FIRST CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER AFTER THE COMMUNIST CAME TO POWER TWENTY YEARS AGO. HE WAS NOT HIMSELF A MEMBER OF THE PARTY.

    ON 9 MARCH 1948 HE WAS WITH THE POLISH AMBASSADOR TO PRAGUE, SEEMINGLY IN GOOD HEALTH. THE FOLLOWING DAY HE WAS DEAD, KILLED IN A FALL FROM HIS OFFICE WINDOW.

    OFFICIALLY IT WAS SAID TO HAVE BEEN A SUICIDE, BUT MYSTERY HAS SURROUNDED HIS DEATH FOR 20 YEARS. HUGE CROWDS ATTENDED HIS LYING IN STATE AND FUNERAL, BUT HIS NAME QUICKLY DISAPPEARED FROM PUBLIC LIFE. NOW SUDDENLY YOUNG CZECHS ARE FREE TO HONOUR HIM, WHEN THEY'RE NOT DISCUSSING POLITICS OF DANCING TO WESTERN POPULAR MUSIC IN THEIR CLUBS.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA33ECZG6MBYTP00UXW7085L89S
    Media URN:
    VLVA33ECZG6MBYTP00UXW7085L89S
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    13/03/1968
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:04:08:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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