PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia -- New evidence has emerged contradicting widely held theories that last November's 'Velvet Revolution' that overthrew 42 years of communist rule was actually an attempted communist putsch that went sour, two Prague newspapers said Thursday.
The newspapers said documents show Czechoslovak secret police never considered manipulating anti-communist dissidents to overthrow the aging communist leadership.
'The STB (secret police) was very strict and the Ministry of Interior was very strict that there would be no notion of collaborating with the Charter 77 people,' the papers quoted general military prosecutor, Miroslav Krizenecky.
Members of Charter 77, a human rights monitoring organization whose members were often harassed or persecuted, were among leaders of a week of demonstrations that toppled the regime following the beating of students by riot police Nov. 17.
The report was carried in the independent daily Lidove Noviny and the Zemedelske Noviny (Agrarian News), which has carried many reports on activities of the secret police. The report, which was identical in each paper, was carried under the double byline of reporters from both publications.
The report quoted Krizenecky as saying Deputy Interior Minister Alois Lorenc and the recently ousted defense minister, Miroslav Vacek, repeatedly tried to persuade the Communist Party Politburo to use force against the protesters in anti-communist demonstrations that began Nov. 17.
Lorenc was arrested two weeks ago and Vacek, who had retained his post in the succeeding non-communist government, was ousted last month.
Like reports on most momentous events, theories and counter-theories abound about how the revolution happened and who were the behind-the- scenes players.
Saturday marks the first anniversary of the Nov. 17 attack by riot police and anti-terrorist commandos on 10,000 peaceful student demonstrators as they neared Wenceslas Square.
Already, one parliamentary commission has turned in a half-completed report, and a second is conducting its own investigation of the events leading up to the revolution.
A special presidential commission investigating the army's role in the revolution found last month that both Vacek and his chief of staff, Gen. Antonin Slimak, had prepared a plan to, along with Lorenc, persuade the Politburo to let them unleash troops and tanks on the hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators that massed night after night in the square.
President Vaclav Havel fired Vacek after the report, but Slimak remains in office.
The events began with a student march Nov. 17 to commemorate the death of student Jan Opletal at the hands of Nazi invaders in 1939. Opletal was an officially sanctioned hero for both communists and dissidents and the demonstration had been permitted by authorities.
Arriving at Opletal's gravesite in the Vysehrad Cemetery, the students inexplicably tried to continue their march on to Wenceslas Square. Some say it was a spontaneous decision, others that it was a clever ruse by secret police 'agents provocateurs.'
But as they approached the square they were confronted by several thousand police units in riot gear who attacked without warning, injuring 54 demonstrators seriously and sending 561 people to the hospital.
The following evening Havel and other dissidents and signers of Charter 77 met in Havel's Prague apartment to form Civic Forum, the umbrella group that led the demonstrations in Wenceslas Square for the next several days and now leads the government.
Within three weeks, the Politburo had resigned and on Dec. 10, the communists formally yielded power.