International Students' Day
International Students' Day is an international observance of student activism, held annually on November 17.
Taking the day differently than its original meaning, a number of universities mark it, sometimes on a day other than 17 November, for a non-political celebration of the multiculturalism of their international students.
The date commemorates the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague after demonstrations against the killing of Jan Opletal and the occupation of Czechoslovakia, and the execution of nine student leaders, over 1200 students sent to concentration camps, and the closing of all Czechoslovakian universities and colleges.
The day was first marked in 1941 in London by the International Students' Council (which had many refugee members) in accord with the Allies, and the tradition has been kept up by the successor International Union of Students, which has been pressing with National Unions of Students in Europe and other groups to make the day an official United Nations observance.
The Athens Polytechnic uprising against the Greek military junta of 1973 came to a climax on 17 November, with a violent crackdown and a tank crushing the gates of the university. The Day of the Greek Students is today among the official holidays in Greece.
The 1989 Prague demonstrations for International Students Day helped spark the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day is today marked among both the official holidays in the Czech Republic (since 2000, thanks to the efforts of the Czech Students' Chamber of The Council of Universities) and the holidays in Slovakia.