IN SHORT

Police stage second protest

ABOUT 3,000 policemen protested low wages on December 3 in Bratislava, the daily SME reported. The rally, the second of its kind in the history of independent Slovakia, was supported by the police union as well as the boss of Eurocop, the European Confederation of Police, Hans Kiefer.

In addition to insubstantial police wages, the second rally also protested against Interior Minister Vladimír Palko's decision to demote Miroslav Litva, the boss of the police union in Slovakia.

Litva's demotion followed the day after he helped initiate the first police protest on October 25.

Kiefer said Minister Palko's action was similar to those witnessed in totalitarian regimes.

Unlike at the first rally, the protesters did not hold any provocative placards, and the union asked protestors not to shout out slogans against the cabinet.

"If police officers aren't paid by the state, the mafia will gladly step in," was one of the slogans on placards seen at the first protest in October.

Minister Palko thinks that the demonstration was an attempt to weaken his position ahead of parliamentary elections. He said the protests are without foundation.

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