Czech Celebrations Muted 20 Years After Velvet Revolution

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PRAGUE -- Persistent unemployment and a growing distrust of the political class has taken some of the gloss off the Velvet Revolution that restored democracy to this country 20 years ago.

Celebrations marking the anniversary of the event have been subdued. Polls show that most Czechs don't regret the revolution; they just don't like what has happened since then.

On Nov. 27, 1989, waves of Czechoslovak factory workers marched into Prague to join student protesters in a nationwide strike that brought down Communist rule. A generation later, the Czechs are ruled by an impotent interim government, and they aren't anticipating real change until new elections, set to come by next May.

Other post-Communist countries in the region have gone through their own bouts of disillusionment and policy instability. Hungary and Romania have rolled from crisis to crisis.

The Czechs, while largely better off financially, have lost confidence in their leaders, some say.

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