January 16 is for the first time being marked in the Czech Republic as a legislatively recognised day honouring Jan Palach. Palach, who was a student at Charles University, set himself alight on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on that date in 1969 in protest at the resignation of the Czechoslovak population less than six months after the Soviet-led invasion that brought to an end the Prague Spring reform communist movement. He died on January 19, 1969 and his funeral turned into a significant demonstration against the occupation.
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