Two independent protests against the Roma were organised during this past weekend. While the first was halted by the police, the second remained orderly and ended without serious problems, the TASR newswire reported.
The march, which took place in the village of Krásnohorské Podhradie, Košice Region, was organised by the far-right non-parliamentary People’s Party - Our Slovakia. Around 300 people gathered in the afternoon in the centre of the village and set off towards the Roma settlement, but a police cordon blocked their path, TASR wrote.
It was organised by the election leader of the party and notorious extreme nationalist Marian Kotleba, who described it as ‘tidying up the Roma village’ situated under the damaged castle of Krásna Hôrka. At the beginning, Kotleba not present at the march as he had been taken to the police station for interrogation, spokesperson for the Košice regional police Jana Mesárová told TASR.
Later on, Kotleba was allowed by police to enter his property, on which illegal Roma settlements stand, so that he could measure his property. He was accompanied by a few journalists. No immediate conflicts arose.
Kotleba announced his intention to demolish the illegal Roma settlement shortly after he was gifted part of the land. He declared that he wanted to remove the ‘garbage’ from his property. Even though People’s Party – Our Slovakia called on its supporters on the website to bring axes, shovels and other tools with them, the march’s participants did not have any in their possession.
People who attended the march chanted slogans such as ‘police state’ while demanding access to the village. The co-owner of the land, Štefan Szaniszló, was one of the leaders of the crowd. Many supporters wanted to wait for Kotleba’s arrival before beginning the march.
Police supervision was in place, with hundreds of officers equipped water cannons and a helicopter monitoring the situation.
Meanwhile, a protest attended by about 3,000 people took place in Partizánske, Trenčín Region. It was organised by the civic association Say Stop to Anti-socials in Your Town, which called it a “march for the rights of decent people”, TASR wrote.
The attendees also signed a petition which was prepared in cooperation of Partizánske mayor Jozef Božik, as well as mayors from Handlová and Žiar nad Hronom.
“Young people from Partizánske came to me and asked whether I was willing to help the idea of directing the attention - in a peaceful form - to solving the current problems,” said Božik, as quoted by TASR. “These concern the anti-social behaviour of inadaptable citizens who live almost in every single town or village in Slovakia.”
Božik added that he supported a decent way of urging the politicians via the media to start addressing the problem.
The march was monitored by the police.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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