Police President Ján Pipta has ordered an examination into incidents at pro-Mečiar rally in Vrbové (Pieštany district) in which demonstrators became violent and assaulted two reporters and others nearby.
Media present at the May 3 rally have reported that policemen at the scene did not leave their cars, observing as the physical assaults took place. If that is true, it would be a violation of the law as the police must take action "when they observe any action which endangers citizens' life or property, even without being called to do so," Slovak Police spokesperson Jaroslav Sahul said.
The incidents began after the mother of Robert Remiáš, whose death is associated with the Michal Kováč Jr. kidnapping case, tossed a bunch of flowers into Mečiar's face, saying she wanted to see the face of her son's murderer and that the flowers were from the grave of her son.
This caused tempers to flare among rally attendants and they started to shout. One of Mečiar's supporters tore up a banner with a slogan "Stop Mečiarism," held by a peaceful group of opponents of the former prime minister who stood near the rally. Then the infuriated crowd assaulted reporters - first a reporter from Czech Television and then a member of the staff of TV Markíza.
The local police finally protected the newsmen but only after a challenge by one of the reporters present. Some other journalists standing around were slapped in the face. Media reported the police largely remained several meters away from the action.
10. May 1999 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA