PRAGUE, Aug. 21, 1968 (UPI) - Invasion forces from Russia and its satellites occupied Czechoslovakia with troops, tanks and jet planes against sporadic resistance today and snuffed out the country's experiment in liberal reform. Street fighting in Prague left some dead and wounded as thousands of Czechoslovaks surged into the streets and shouted defiance of the invaders.
Cannon, machine-gun and small arms fire crashed and rattled through the night in the capital and in Bratislava, where two weeks ago the Russians agreed to let Czechoslovakia have its liberal regime.
Czechoslovak leaders denounced the invasion by Soviet, East German, Hungarian and Bulgarian mobile forces and demanded they pull out. They appealed for calm and told cities to offer only "passive resistance."
Some Czechoslovaks tried to stop the invaders by throwing themselves in front of tanks in Prague's St. Wenceslas Square and outside the Radio Prague building, the CTK news agency reported.
CTK said "several" persons had been killed and at least 57 others wounded. One report said 25 were killed.
Radio Prague played the Czech national anthem and went off the air pleading "no street fighting."
But Czech freedom fighters ignored the plea. They began stalking and setting fire to Russian tanks the same as Hungarian fighters did 12 years ago in Budapest.
Burning mattresses were dropped from windows on two tanks and two Soviet ammunition trucks were ambushed and blown up.
Streetcars and buses were set afire to form barricades against the tanks. At least 25 Soviet tanks thundered through Wenceslas Square where 10,000 Czechs jeered. Some spat at the tanks and screamed "Russians go home."
Radio Gottewaldov in Eastern Moravia condemned the Russians. It said, "We remember only one similar day, that of March 15, 1939" - the day Nazi Germany crossed the Czech borders.
The Soviets and their allies struck at 11 last night (6 p.m. EDT). From Moscow, Warsaw, East Berlin and the other capitals of the Soviet bloc, official spokesmen announced they had acted to save communism in Czechoslovakia and to preserve the eastern alliance's security against foreign-aided "counter-revolutionary forces."
For the first time in many years, broadcasts of the crisis by Western radio stations were jammed by the Russians so residents behind the Iron Curtain couldn't hear them clearly if at all.
Communist Party First Secretary Alexander Dubcek, leader of the reform movement, and President Ludvik Svoboda held urgent conferences.
Soviet armor ringed the party's Central Committee building where Dubcek and his aides were reported in session, and Hradcany Castle, where President Svoboda managed only to send out -- in a barely audible telephone broadcast -- an appeal for his people to "remain calm."
Clandestine "freedom radios" came on the air in Prague. Said one:
"None of the leaders are able to speak because they are held prisoner in the buildings of the Central Committee or government. Cestmar Cisar (a Dubcek aide and party leader) has already been taken away by three unidentified men."
The "freedom radios" shifted locations constantly. Out in the streets some crowds chanted, "Dubcek, Svoboda; Dubcek, Svoboda."
Russian paratroopers occupied key positions in Prague.
Soviet tanks plus armor of the other invading neighbors rumbled in every major Czech city and occupied the western border facing West Germany and Austria. Resistance there was mostly in the shadows and not effective.
From before dawn, Czech radio and television broadcasters kept switching their programs from one transmitter to another as occupation forces chased them down.
Western travelers streaming past columns of Soviet Bloc armor fled into neighboring Austria and West Germany.
They said they saw Russians and their allied forces occupy all major cities and border points. They said Soviet jet fighters flooded into Prague's airport through the night.
Travelers said crowds of Czechoslovaks filled the streets, some of them weeping and some pleading with the crews of the invading tanks to go back where they came from. At least once the resistance worked for a moment.
When Soviet tanks rumbled up to the Radio Prague building, hundreds of Czechoslovaks, cursing and jeering, swarmed around. They yelled "Pfiu"' in the faces of the Red Army troops coming with the tanks. Bewildered, angered, the Russian soldiers fell back -- but only for a few minutes.
Radio Prague announcers, broadcasting descriptions of the scene in the streets below them, said bullets were smashing through their windows.
The CTK news agency said invading forces had smashed into the radio building. Then the news agency announced that its own building was being invaded.
Twenty-five Russian tanks peeled off the columns of armor streaming into Prague -- as well as such other cities as Pilsen, the beer capital, and Bratislava, where Dubcek tried diplomacy only two weeks ago to keep his foreign comrades at bay.
The tanks encircled the Central Committee building.
Radio Prague had said the Central Committee Presidium was in session throughout the night. But the men who defied the Kremlin by reforming Czechoslovak communism were out of sight and fears grew for their safety.
One of Dubcek's lieutenants was seen being led away by unidentified men.
In a last Radio Prague communique, Alois Polednak, Presidium member of the Czechoslovak parliament and a Dubcek aide, said he tried but failed to contact President Svoboda in Hradcany Castle.