A statue of the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, was unveiled in front of the Slovak National Museum in Bratislava on Thursday, October 28. Masaryk was one of the founders of the first Czechoslovak Republic and served as president between 1918 and 1935; October 28 marked the 92nd anniversary of the establishment of the republic.
Masaryk's statue was unveiled on the former site of a bronze lion, an emblem of Czechoslovakia, that had been moved to the riverside square at the new Eurovea shopping complex. The unveiling ceremony took place in the presence of several MPs, diplomats and representatives of the local and regional administration.
Some 20 members of the extremist Our Slovakia party protested against the unveiling, describing it as a statue of "an avowed enemy of the Slovak nation." Masaryk himself was half-Slovak, but advocated the concept of a joint Czechoslovak identity, considered anathema by hard-line Slovak nationalists. The protest was quickly dispersed by police.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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29. Oct 2010 at 10:00