Witnesses dispute president staffer's account of bar brawl

POLICE are investigating a conflict that erupted in a pub after an ice-hockey match sent the Slovak team home from the World Cup, the Sme daily wrote on May 23.

POLICE are investigating a conflict that erupted in a pub after an ice-hockey match sent the Slovak team home from the World Cup, the Sme daily wrote on May 23.

The head of the department of public relations at the President’s Office, Dárius Rusnák, himself a former national hockey player, verbally attacked two women speaking Hungarian in a pub, and physically assaulted two young men who came to the women’s defence.

Rusnák says he regrets the incident, but blames his friend who accompanied him for provoking the attack. However, all four victims involved in the fight, as well as an unrelated witness (a waitress), claim the opposite – that it was the official who initiated the conflict, while his friend tried to calm the situation.

Rusnák sees no reason to be disciplined for his behaviour. He will probably leave the office soon anyhow, as president-elect Andrej Kiska is likely to replace him after he is inaugurated in June.

The President’s Office reacted by saying that if Rusnák is convicted, they will draw consequences. Police are investigating the incident as disorderly conduct.

One of the women insisted that they were attacked for speaking Hungarian in public, and complained to a local Hungarian-language daily, after which Sme reported on the case.

(Source: Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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