Demonstrators in London marked the tenth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in several marches on Sunday (20 August).
Demonstrators in London marked the tenth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in several marches on Sunday (20 August). The largest demonstration comprised many groups and ended up at Trafalgar Square. A smaller demonstration marched past the Embassy of the Soviet Union.
SYNOPSIS: The Young Conservatives led a group of four thousand demonstrators from Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park along Park Lane to Trafalgar Square. Many of the demonstrators wore Czechoslovak national dress. They chanted their opposition to the Soviet invasion and mourned the end of the Dubcek regime. At a rally at Trafalgar Square, the demonstrators listened to speeches from Czechoslovak exiles and Conservative spokesman and paid tribute to the people within Czechoslovakia seeking reforms.
Another demonstration marched past the Czechoslovak Embassy and then to Kensington Palace Gardens to protest near the Soviet Union's Embassy. A group who opposed the demonstrations waited for the arrival of the Czechoslovak Solidarity Group.
As the marches took place in London and in various other cities around the world, Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia, was reported to be almost deserted. Most people left for summer week-end trips and most dissidents spent the day in the countryside on official advice. Sources said that police have stepped up surveillance over the past month in Prague, in anticipation of some action on the anniversary.
Left-wing activist Tariq Ali and Labour MP Ian Mikardo marched with the Czechoslovak Solidarity Group. The group did not agree to be part of the march organised by the Young Conservatives. On Monday (21 August) a delegation of Labour MPs will go to the Czechoslovak Embassy to deliver a written protest against what they call the continuing occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. The official Czechoslovak media has been issuing daily articles defending the invasion.