Hundreds of baton-wielding riot police today violently broke up a crowd of more than 2,000 people who rallied to demand freedom for jailed dissidents and more human rights in Czechoslovakia.
Chants of "Gestapo! Gestapo!" rang out as white-helmeted riot police charged the crowd about 30 minutes after it gathered, swinging their batons indiscriminantly. More than a dozen protesters appeared badly beaten and at least 10 were taken away by police.Water cannons were brought onto Wenceslas Square but were not used. Wenceslas Square has been the site of five straight days of rallies, which began Sunday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Jan Palach's death. Palach committed suicide by setting himself afire Jan. 16, 1969 to protest the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.