None of the Slovaks involved in a heated row with Lufthansa airlines personnel at Frankfurt Airport that resulted in arrests and allegations of an excessive reaction by German police have asked Slovak representation offices in Germany for help, Peter Stano, the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, told the TASR newswire on December 29.
The Slovak and Czech passengers were complaining about waiting for three days for a delayed flight to Prague before Christmas. The incident, which also involved the arrest of Jiří Jodas, a Czech honorary consul in Brazil, took place while flights were delayed by heavy snowfall and black ice.
More than 3,000 people had to sleep on airport seats, while 5,000 were given accommodation in hotels. Around 100 frustrated passengers, mostly Czechs and Slovaks, asked Lufthansa personnel for food and drinks. When the staff refused to comply with their demands, the passengers reacted with verbal abuse.
According to witnesses cited by Czech news website lidovky.cz, the intervention by German police that followed was inappropriate, with officers using electronic truncheons also known as tasers. The police arrested six Slovaks and Czechs at the scene. The Czech consul who put up the most resistance was kicked several times by the officers, according to witnesses.
The German version, published in the Die Zeit newspaper, is different, however: Jodas has verbally attacked the desk personnel, was consequently banned from entering the plane, and when his daughter joined the row, they also attacked the flight captain and the police. The authorities let the detainees go free after several hours without pressing any charges. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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