Europe

Czechs divided by president rally to mark Velvet Revolution

  • A man  wearing a mask depicting Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman, right, marches across the medieval Charles Bridge as part of commemorations for the 27th anniversary of the so called Velvet Revolution in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    A man wearing a mask depicting Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman, right, marches across the medieval Charles Bridge as part of commemorations for the 27th anniversary of the so called Velvet Revolution in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

  • People place candles to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the so called Velvet Revolution in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    People place candles to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the so called Velvet Revolution in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

  • Costumed people with masks march across the medieval Charles Bridge as part of commemorations for the 27th anniversary of the so called Velvet Revolution in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Costumed people with masks march across the medieval Charles Bridge as part of commemorations for the 27th anniversary of the so called Velvet Revolution in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

Many Czechs have used the anniversary of their country's 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution to voice their opposition or support for President Milos Zeman.

Both camps organized gatherings and marches in Prague to commemorate Thursday's anniversary. Participants traded insults, but anti-conflict officers intervened before fights could break out.

In one incident, riot police had to separate far-right marchers from activists on the left who tried to block them.

Zeman, who is known for his strong anti-migrant rhetoric, divides the nation with his pro-Russia stance and support for closer ties with China.

Meanwhile, thousands came downtown to light a candle at a monument to the November 17 student demonstration that triggered the 1989 revolution.

Zeman, who welcomed Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election, remained at the presidential palace outside Prague.