Havel greeted with boos in Bratislava (file)

(Archives B2) The Czech and Slovak Republic must commemorate its 73rd anniversary. Everyone is waiting for Vaclav Havel, returning from a stay in the United States. A fairly impressive police cordon, never seen since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, was deployed on the insurrection square.

The Slovak National Movement is determined to impose its separatist will on the “federalists” and some 5000 activists from the Civic Democratic Union (ODU)* also present. Although it only managed to bring together a few dozen supporters, compared to several thousand the previous year, the nationalist party compensated for the lack of votes with their intensity. It is with increased rage and hatred that Vaclav Havel and the members of his government are welcomed. Fresh eggs, cries of “Kruj” (motherfucker), “communist” (!) and other insults rain down.

Only the passage of Dubcek, the former – Slovak – star of the Prague Spring calms things down a little. But Havel's attempt to obtain two minutes of silence in memory of the founders of the republic ended in failure. On the contrary, cries and insults are increasing. The police rush, under the frightened gaze of the officials, extract a fairly excited young man from the crowd and take him under good escort to one of their buses. Without extreme violence. But, undoubtedly, the gesture too much for Vaclav Havel.

Tired, the former human rights defender decided to leave the square, leaving speeches and supporters red with bitterness, leaving the nationalists surprised by this easy victory to occupy without a fight, a private platform... of his spectators. For the moment !

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, in Bratislava)

Lundi 28 octobre 1991

article published in l'Evènement du Jeudi, October 1991

* new name of the VPN “People Against Violence”, the movement that overthrew the communist regime.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).