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Extremist march occurs without incident

About 20 far-right extremist supporters met in Šarišské Michaľany, in the Sabinov district, to commemorate the anti-Roma march that happened four years ago, whose participants were dispersed by the police. On the same day a counter-event was organised by activists from the Bratislava bez Náckov (Bratislava without Nazis) civic association, the SITA newswire reported on August 10.

About 20 far-right extremist supporters met in Šarišské Michaľany, in the Sabinov district, to commemorate the anti-Roma march that happened four years ago, whose participants were dispersed by the police. On the same day a counter-event was organised by activists from the Bratislava bez Náckov (Bratislava without Nazis) civic association, the SITA newswire reported on August 10.

The extremist rally was organised by People’s Party – Our Slovakia, led by Marián Kotleba, and had the character of a political meeting. Kotleba, as the main speaker, recalled not only the march, but also the illegally built buildings in Betliar, and cited what he perceived to be problems with the Roma minority occurring all over Slovakia, as reported by SITA.

He also criticised the housing policy in Slovakia and blamed the government for building flats for Roma, arguing that the younger non-Roma generation does not have enough support when looking for housing. He mostly criticised Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, as well as a court ruling, which confirmed the existence of segregation at a school in Šarišské Michaľany and ordered the management of the school to integrate its classrooms, SITA wrote.

The activists from Bratislava bez Náckov came to the village with a big poster that read, ‘Stop Fascism’ and ‘Slovakia without Nazis’ with a crossed-out swastika. They addressed several people present on the square and called on them not to be pulled into the anti-Roma protest through their participation in the extremists’ event, and not to support violence against minorities, as reported by SITA.

Bratislava bez Náckov is not officially registered, but is devoted to the monitoring of neo-Fascist and extremist groups, said one of the organisers of the event, Róbert Mihály, as reported by the TASR newswire.

The action organised by the activists was supported by the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, which “perceives all events aimed against minorities in Slovakia, including Roma, with deep concern,” reads the statement of the organisation, as quoted by SITA, adding that such activities only support hatred and tension in society. Therefore, the organisation called for a public discussion over the existing social problems, separation and segregation of some groups of inhabitants, SITA reported.

Before the extremists’ rally, Šarišské Michaľany mayor Vincent Leššo removed a banner placed on the town hall by the anti-extremist activists, SITA wrote.

Interaction between the two groups remains calm and non-violent, and the police did not have to intervene, according to SITA.

Source: SITA, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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