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– The Voice of the Street –

T he crowd marched from Charles University, and when the official itinerary was over at dusk, they lit candles, produced flowers, and con- tinued on through the streets, singing and chant- ing anti government slogans – the past once again becoming an occasion to address the present. At Wenceslas Square policemen surrounded them and began clubbing anyone within reach. Marchers stampeded down side streets, where some slipped away or were taken into nearby homes, but many were injured. False accounts that one student had joined the ranks of student martyrs infuriated the nation. Afterwards came spontaneous marches, strikes and gatherings in Wenceslas Square – really a kilometre-long, immensely wide boulevard in the heart of the city. [. . .]

Czechoslovakians had begun to live in public, gathering every day in Wenceslas Square and proceeding down adjoining Narodni Avenue, getting their news from other participants, making and reading posters and signs, creating altars of flowers and candles – reclaiming the street as public space whose meaning would be determined by the public. ‘Prague,’


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