ONE OF the ruling coalition parties, Most-Hid, has lodged a criminal complaint against the opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) on July 13, claiming that SNS is inciting national intolerance.
“Anti-Hungarian billboards that the SNS has placed across the country as well as offensive and slanderous statements of SNS MPs in the media and parliament were the reason for pressing the charges against the party,” Most-Hid spokesperson Nora Czuczorova told a press conference, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
The billboards have been displayed around Slovakia for several weeks now. They encourage citizens to sign a petition initiated by the SNS and make statements such as ‘Against the Hungarian Expansion’ and ‘So that we don’t need to feel like foreigners at home’.
“We have taken action so late because have been waiting for somebody, the non-governmental sector, or law enforcement bodies, to notice, realise, and draw attention to the societal danger of such invectives,” Most-Hid leader Bela Bugar said, as quoted by SITA. “Nothing like that has happened before and we are convinced that such expressions are dangerous and have no place in the 21st century.”
According to Bugar, the billboards and statements of SNS MPs are seeking to convince Slovak citizens that being a patriot means hating other nations. Bugar opined that such displays of national intolerance are even more dangerous coming from members of the political elite who many people perceive as an example.
SNS responded that it was not planning to remove the billboards in response to Most-Hid’s criticism.
“Our activities to support national pride and the status of the state language, which are the focus of our billboard campaign, are perceived in this way only by the Hid political party while other citizens understand it correctly,” SNS spokesperson Jana Benkova told SITA.
18. Jul 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff