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November 17, 1989 - National Street in Prague.

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Prague (photographed)
    Prague (printed and published)

  • Date:

    1989 (photographed)
    1989 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Offset lithograph printed on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Zdenek Kavan

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case Y79, shelf E

The photograph reproduced on this poster documents the student demonstration in Prague on the 17th of November 1989. This non-violent protest challanged the authorities who responded brutally. It initiated the events which culminated in the 'Velvet Revolution' and the overthrow of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

The student demonstration began with a meeting in the Albertov district of Prague on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Nazi persecution of Czechoslovak students who had held mass protests during the burial of Jan Opletal (a Czech student from the medical faculty of the Charles University who was shot during demonstrations against theGerman occupation of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1939). The Albertov student meeting continued with a ‘march for democracy’ to the centre of Prague. On the way towards National Street the student demonstration was joined by other, mainly young, people demanding freedom and democracy.

This photograph shows demonstrators bravely holding flowers against the truncheons in the hands to the ‘White Helmets’ (as the special troops of the Ministry of Interior Affairs were known). Photographs of the demonstration were printed and circulated in the shocked aftermath of the White Helmets' brutality.

Designed, printed and published in former Czechoslovakia

Physical description

Protest poster with the black and white photographic image of a line of riot police barricading Narodni Avenue, Prague, wearing white helmets and carrying transparent riot shields. A hand stretched towards them offers flowers in a gesture of peace.

Place of Origin

Prague (photographed)
Prague (printed and published)


1989 (photographed)
1989 (printed and published)



Materials and Techniques

Offset lithograph printed on paper


Height: 30.0 cm maximum, Width: 41.8 cm maximum

Object history note

This poster was printed and circulated immediately after the events of 17 November 1989.

Historical context note

The photograph on this poster was one of several documenting the events of 17 November 1989, printed and circulated in the shocked aftermath of the police brutality. Initially printed individually, the photographs were also issued in a portfolio entitled 'Ceskoslovensky listopad 1989' [Czechoslovakia November 1989] comprising photographs of the Velvet Revolution and published immediately afterwards. In it the photograph featured in this poster is entitled '17 listopad/kvety pohotovostnimu pluku' [17 November/Flowers for the regiment of guards] but is printed in reverse.

Descriptive line

Poster presenting photograph taken during the student demonstration of 17 November 1989, published and printed in former Czechoslovakia, 1989.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Nothing in the World but Youth Margate: Turner Contemporary, 2011. ISBN: 9780955236334.

Production Note

Designed, printed and published in former Czechoslovakia


Paper; Printing ink


Offset lithograph

Subjects depicted

Protest; Revolution; Freedom; Shields; Police: riot; Flowers; Politics; Helmets; Peace; People


Politics; Propaganda; Photographs


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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