Brno - Some 200 people met to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the self-immolation of Czech student Jan Palach in the Vaclav Havel lane that was unveiled in Brno today.
Ulička Václava Havla v Brně byla 15. ledna slavnostně otevřena. Akci spolupořádal brněnský Sokol. Z jeho iniciativy na zdi uličky visí při příležitosti 45 let od smrti Jana Palacha jeho abstraktní posmrtná maska. ČTK Zehl Igor
The event was organised by the Husa na provazku theatre situated in this narrow street. The theatre staff also initiated its renaming after Havel, the first post-communist Czechoslovak and Czech president.
The Brno Assembly approved it last December.
The theatre has organised several events to celebrate the renaming of the street running to the Brno cathedral.
Theatre director Vladimir Moravek told CTK today that they had finally chosen the day of Palach´s anniversary for the street´s unveiling.
"We thought that it would please Vaclav Havel most of all if not only he alone were spoken about," Moravek said.
The lane was crowded today, people listened to music and actors and other theatre staff were carrying banners with Havel´s photographs.
The co-organiser, the Brno Sokol sports association, arranged the creation of Palach´s abstract death mask that was placed on a wall in Havel lane.
Havel (1936-2011), playwright, thinker and dissident, was the last Czechoslovak and the first Czech president (1989-2003). After he left the post he primarily focused on the promotion of human rights in the world. He died on December 18, 2011, aged 75 years.
Palach, a 20-year-old student of Prague's Faculty of Arts, attempted to burn himself to death at Wenceslas Square in Prague on January 16, 1969 to rouse the society from lethargy following the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
Three days later, on January 19, 1969, Palach succumbed to third-degree burns. His funeral, in which tens of thousands of people took part, developed into a national demonstration for freedom and democracy.