Around 1,000 people attended the latest Gorilla Protest against corruption on March 9, one day before Slovakia's parliamentary elections. As well as the main protest in Bratislava, rallies were also held in other towns around Slovakia. Police arrested 19 people after the Bratislava protest had officially ended, the TASR newswire reported.
The Bratislava event was attended by Hördur Torfason, one of the organisers of similar protests in Iceland which led to the fall of that country's government in 2009. Torfason, whose initiative grew after he stood in the street and asked passers-by to express their opinion about the situation in the country, said that every change in a country begins with one voice that eventually grows into a majority.
Some members of parties running in the parliamentary elections, including representatives of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Nation and Justice, Free Forum – We are Doing It for the Children, 99 Percent – Civic Voice, and the Party of the Democratic Left, were allowed to speak to the protesters but all were booed off the stage, TASR wrote.
Although the Bratislava protest was due to end at around 19:00 in SNP Square, some protesters decided to march on parliament. However, they were stopped en route by the police, who repeatedly called on them to disperse. After demonstrators refused to leave the area around parliament and started to throw stones the police fired teargas and began making arrests, the SITA newswire reported.
One of the organisers, Peter Pčolinský, said the police action was disproportionate.
“People were standing normally, [and just] an egg was thrown from time to time,” he said, as quoted by SITA, adding that police used too much teargas and had even assaulted the protesters with batons.
Source: TASR, SITA
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
12. Mar 2012 at 14:00