The third round of protest demonstrations against political corruption held in Bratislava on February 10 attracted fewer people than a week earlier. The demonstration on February 3 had attracted about 15,000 people but only about 3,000 were present at SNP Square in Bratislava on Friday, February 10, the Sme daily reported.
The protestors gathered mostly on the square and most of them left after the organisers declared the official end of the demonstration. But about 200 people moved in front of the Presidential Palace and threw firecrackers on the front courtyard of the palace. Sme wrote that there were no big incidents and that most of the crowd moved on to a concert given by Czech singer Daniel Landa.
The protest organisers presented several new demands, including the departure of Štefan Harabin who they termed as the “morally discredited” president of the Supreme Court, the appointment of Jozef Čentéš to the post of general prosecutor, and changes to the country’s rules for citizen referenda.
The organisers also called for establishment of ‘round tables’ with experts to discuss the protest demands and asked for the public broadcaster, Radio and Television of Slovakia, to reserve air time for these discussions.
The Gorilla III Protest was attended by some public personalities, including actors Rasťo Piško and Robert Roth as well as Zuzana Wienk from the Fair-Play Alliance, a political ethics watchdog group. Journalist Tom Nicholson, who first provided a copy of the so-called Gorilla file to Slovak police, read some passages from his book which has been enjoined from publication by a Bratislava district court, the TASR newswire reported.
The protestors were also expecting a speech by Fedor Gál, a former dissident and leader of the Velvet Revolution but just before the protest he cancelled his participation.
“I received information that there would be many extremists, radicals at the protest,” Gál said, as quoted by Sme, adding that confrontation with these kinds of people is not dialogue and does not make sense.
The protest was symbolically supported by the members of the Anonymous movement who hacked the websites of Penta and the Justice Ministry. The main motive of the attack was the ruling of the Bratislava district court to prevent publication of Nicholson’s book, Anonymous stated.
“This decision has sent Slovakia back to before 1989,” reads the comment on the Anonymous website. “After more than 22 years since the Velvet Revolution, books that go against the people in power are being banned.”
The spokesperson for the Justice Ministry, Peter Bubla, said that the Anonymous attack would be counterproductive. “If the Anonymous movement is serious about its fight against corruption it should not block the tools for public supervision of courts,” the spokesman said, as quoted by TASR.
Smaller Gorilla protests were also held in other Slovak towns on February 10, including Poprad, Prievidza and Košice. The organisers of the Bratislava protest disassociated themselves from the Košice protest, saying it was attended mostly by right-wing radicals, Sme wrote.
Source: Sme, TASR
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
13. Feb 2012 at 14:00