Fewer than 100 supporters of the 1939-45 wartime Slovak State gathered on Hodžovo Square in Bratislava on Saturday, March 12, to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of its March 14 foundation.
Some of those gathered held or wore symbols used by the banned Slovenská Pospolitosť (Slovak Togetherness) extreme nationalist movement. They were joined by representatives of nationalist groups from the Czech Republic and Germany. Several hundred people had been expected to attend.
The police this year outnumbered demonstrators in the square, but did not have to intervene. The rally began with playback of a recording featuring the voice of the president of the Slovak wartime state, Jozef Tiso, followed by a speech by Ľudová Strana - Naše Slovensko (People's Party - Our Slovakia) leader and Slovenská Pospolitosť founder Marian Kotleba. After the initial gathering, the demonstrators moved on to Martin Cemetery, which contains the presumed grave of Tiso, who was executed in 1947 after being convicted of treason for his cooperation with the Nazis. The event was calm and no disturbances were reported – unlike last year, when the rally took place shortly after an anti-fascist demonstration called in reaction.
However, the two-hour march across the centre of Bratislava to Martin Cemetery did result in at least two arrests, the TASR newswire reported. "Two persons were apprehended in order to provide explanation, with both of them later released," said Bratislava Regional Police spokesperson Petra Hrašková. One man was arrested for wearing various wartime symbols, and another for wearing a gun.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
14. Mar 2011 at 14:00