PEOPLE in Banská Bystrica, as well as in other parts of the country, will organise protests called PovstaNIE (a combination of the Slovak word for uprising, and NIE meaning no) on December 20, during which they will light candles as a symbol of their resistance to racial and ethnic intolerance on squares and streets which bear the Slovak National Uprising in their name, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.

The protest will be held on the occasion of the first session of new Banská Bystrica regional parliament, which in fact means the start of the tenure of new governor Marian Kotleba, leader of the People’s Party – Our Slovakia (ĽSNS).

Meanwhile, the Government Council for Human Rights, Ethnic Minorities and Gender Equality said it is concerned about Kotleba’s election to the post of Banská Bystrica’s governor, the TASR newswire wrote.

Any demonstrations that celebrate or justify this result are worrying, as, according to the council, they downplay the danger of the penetration of extreme right figures in politics, reads the declaration approved by the council at its session on December 18. The council recalled that Kotleba has long been building his political capital via anti-Roma, anti-Jewish and homophobic rhetoric as well as his open admiration of representatives of the war-time Slovak state (1939-45). It also called for the rigorous monitoring of Banská Bystrica region under his leadership, as reported by TASR.

“As a result of such actions, marginalised Roma communities are stuck in a vicious circle of social exclusion, the consequences of which are behind the souring of the relationship with the majority,” reads the council’s statement, as quoted by TASR.

Behind the relatively high support for extremist movements among the youth, the council sees the inadequate shaping of collective historical memory, almost absent human rights education and civil education for democracy. Therefore, the council committed itself to pay serious attention to these issues in its forthcoming National Strategy of Human Rights, TASR wrote.

Source: Hospodárske Noviny, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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