The date of 25 February has long been celebrated in Suriname as “Revolution Day”. But beginning in 2018 it will be known officially as “Day of Liberation and Innovation” to cite the revolution as an act of liberation and to focus on the innovation and progress of the nation since that time.
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The 25 February holiday has always been controversial, no matter which name it was known by. It looks back to the day in 1980 when, after only a few short years of Surinamese independence, a military coup led by Desi Bouterse overthrew an admittedly corrupt sitting government.
The revolt was led by 16 military sergeants, and thus became known as the “Sergeants’ Coup”. But Bouterse soon became the real ruler of the country, even when he wasn’t officially installed as president. Under his dictatorship, the nation was a one-party state and lacked many basic freedoms. There were also reports of corruption and executions of opponents.
The Bouterse regime was finally removed by means of election in 1991, but he later became president in 2010 and designated 25 February as a national holiday.
There is a special ceremony held on the Day of Liberation and Innovation at the Monument of the Revolution, the very spot where the Bouterse revolution began in 1980.