Scores of people gathered at a public demonstration against the State Language Act, which took place in Dunajská Streda (Trnava Region) on Tuesday, September 1.
In addition to people from Slovakia's southern regions, which are home to a large number of ethnic Hungarians, coaches and cars from central and eastern Slovakia as well as Hungary and Romania could also be seen in the area of a local football stadium where the rally took place.
Representatives of practically all state-owned and private media in Slovakia, plus reporters from a variety of foreign media, were also in evidence.
Slovakia’s Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) party, which organised the rally, said it expected up to 6,000 people to take part in the three-hour event. Dozens of police officers also attended.
In a speech to protesters, the SMK’s chairman, Pál Csáky, said the amendment to the State Language Act 'criminalises' the Hungarian language. "This law is another sad level of the moral crisis in Slovak society, which by cynically turning a blind eye accepts the regular excesses of the second most influential politician in the ruling coalition [a reference to Slovak National Party chairman Ján Slota] and the re-emergence of flourishing corruption, and problems in the judiciary," Csáky told the crowd.
According to the SMK leader, it is shameful for Slovakia and Europe that 20 years after the communist regime fell, people are again forced to demonstrate against anti-democratic practices. "We won't be intimidated. The language police and the shouting of liquor-soaked politicians is not our shame. We didn't come here from Mars, this is our motherland. We have our history here," Csáky said. He said that the SMK will monitor how the act is actually applied. Csáky stressed that the rally wasn't meant as an anti-Slovak meeting.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
2. Sep 2009 at 10:00