Vaclav Havel: Arab protesters have it harder than my generation in ’89

rague, Czech Republic (CNN) — Protesters in North Africa and the Middle East face tougher challenges than their east European equivalents did two decades ago, Czech human rights activist Vaclav Havel has told CNN.

Havel, who helped lead the so-called Velvet Revolution against communist rule in Czechoslovakia during 1989 and later became president, also believes the next generation of Arab leaders should be drawn from non-politicians and the young.

His comments came as fierce fighting continued in Libya during the weekend, while protesters took to the streets of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq and Egypt.

Havel, who was imprisoned for his political beliefs before the Velvet Revolution, said the turmoil that has swept the Arab world since the start of the year was an “epoch-making event,” adding: “We don’t know what it will lead to, how it will finish up.”


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