THE POLICE, in cooperation with the prosecutor’s office, will supervise the heavy metal festival Gothoom that will take place between August 13 and 16 in Nová Baňa, Banská Bystrica Region. The special measures were adopted after protests from Christian activists and the local church, who say that the lyrics of the songs violate religious beliefs and advocate violence.

“We are preparing more security measures in which criminal, traffic and riot police will participate,” Marianna Paulíková from the police corps presidium told the Sme daily.

Andrea Predajňová, spokesperson for the General Prosecutor’s Office, added that the police and the prosecutor’s office will do everything to maintain public order and ensure that human rights are not threatened.

“The possibility to stop the festival does not fall under the authority of the police,” Paulíková told Sme. She, however, added that the police will be ready to act if necessary. The criminal police will, moreover, analyse the lyrics of songs.

Though the Christian activists claim they respect the right to freedom of speech, they also point to sections of the Criminal Code that deal with defamation and encouraging violence.

The activists have also been supported by town councillor Marián Kvasnička of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH). He turned to Culture Minister Marek Maďarič, whom he informed about the situation, and discussed the problem with Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák and Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar, as reported by Sme.

Kvasnička claims he knows the songs of some of the bands very well.

“If I exaggerated it, I would say that what they spread is cultural or traditional bolshevism in the sense of violence and destruction of what is positive,” Kvasnička said, as quoted by Sme.

Meanwhile, Nová Baňa Mayor Ján Havran and festival organiser Peter Beťko agreed to try to persuade the artists from performing songs with lyrics that are perceived as especially controversial or offensive. Havran even submitted a criminal complaint to the prosecutor’s office to force it determine whether the lyrics can be considered illegal. He refused to send someone from the local town hall to review the lyrics, as he was originally ordered, Sme wrote.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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