Zeman: False news sparked end of Communism

Klaus and Zeman clash over euro and EU affairs in debate over Velvet Revolution

Prague, Nov 15 (ČTK) — The revolution in 1989 was triggered by a false report on the death of student Martin Šmíd, not by the intervention of the Communist police against a demonstration in Prague, President Miloš Zeman said today.

Zeman said the police intervention had not been any major bloodshed and this was only one of many demonstrations at that time.

Zeman said the people who had not been at the demonstration remembered it as a “massacre.”

“To tell the truth all those who attended the anti-regime demonstrations know that here and then they received a blow by a night-stick,” Zeman said.

“This was no bloodshed, it was just one of many demonstrations,” he added.

The real revolution was only triggered by the false news on the death of student Šmíd that aroused the public as it was broken on the anniversary of November 17, 1939, Zeman said.

On November 17, 1939, thousands of Czech students gathered to protest against the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and the killing of student Jan Opletal in Prague.

The Nazis dispersed the demonstration and executed nine of its leaders. More than 1,200 students who participated in the demonstration were sent to concentration camps.

Zeman had a public debate on the 25th anniversary of the overthrow of the Communist regime along with his predecessor Václav Klaus.

They mainly discussed economic issues such as the introduction of the euro.

Zeman said Klaus was the last of the Mohicans who rejected the euro. He said he did not know any other man rejecting the euro.

Klaus repeated that he was still against the euro.

Zeman said the Czech Republic would not enter the euro zone sooner than in five years.

The euro zone is no longer a charity group, Zeman said, adding that he believed in its positive development.

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