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Anniversary overshadowed by Černová tragedy

SLOVAKIA'S commemoration of the anniversary of the first Czechoslovak Republic remained in the shadow of the 100th anniversary of the Černová tragedy on October 27.

Deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič and the non-parliamentary party OKS were the only Slovak politicians who commemorated the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic, the Sme daily wrote.

According to Čaplovič, without the Czechoslovak Republic, the Slovak nation would not exist.

About 2,000 people, including some of the country's top politicians, gathered in Černová to commemorate the centennial of a massacre of local people by Hungarian police.

President Ivan Gašparovič said the Černová anniversary is primarily observed as a memorial to the oppression of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire's citizens. It is up to historians to separate facts on Černová from half-truths, he said at the ceremony.

The Černová tragedy, which left 15 people dead and another 52 people wounded, was connected with the consecration of the Černová church. Local citizens did not want to consecrate their newly-built church without local priest Andrej Hlinka, who had fallen out of favour with the Hungarian religious and state authorities.

The parishioners blocked the procession of Hungarian religious dignitaries from entering the village. In reaction, a police commander ordered his officers to shoot into the crowd.

For their part in the rebellion, 38 people were sent to prison following a trial in 1908. The tragedy sparked huge protests in the European press and it turned the world's attention onto the attitude of the Hungarian empire toward its minorities.

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