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Police prosecute mayor for attack on artist

Mayor of the village of Veľký Lipník (Prešov Region) assaulted artist Ľuboš Lorenz who tried to paint over the memorial plaque dedicated to a communist-era official on May 28.

(Source: TMS MKR)

The police launched prosecution against the village’s mayor Peter Labant who wanted to prevent Lorenz from painting the plaque. The plaque honouring former communist general prosecutor and justice minister Ján Pječšak was unveiled on May 15 on the building of the municipal office in his native village of Veľký Lipník.

Following the incident, Lorenz ended up in the hospital in Stará Ľubovňa, claiming that his rib had been broken, as reported by the TASR newswire.

“We record criminal prosecution in two matters and one offence,” Prešov police spokesperson Jana Migaľová told the SITA newswire, specifying that the two former prosecutions concern the bodily harm and disorderly conduct, while the latter concerns the damage of the plaque.

The video recorded by activists and published on a social network shows Lorenz climbing on a waste container to reach the plaque and paint it in colour. He was subsequently approached by a man wearing work trousers who threw the artist down. Lorenz said in the video that at the time they did not know that the person was the mayor.

Labant has refused to comment on the incident, SITA reported.

Read also: Read also:Artists spraying communist leader's bust tried

Meanwhile, the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN) protested against unveiling the plaque. It described the actions of residents of the village as de-facto rehabilitation of a former communist exponent. Twenty-five years after the fall of the iron curtain, we are witnessing a relativisation of truth concerning the past, ÚPN’s spokesperson Tibor Ujlacký said, as reported by TASR.

In this respect, he reminded of last year’s unveiling of a memorial to high-ranking communist functionary Vasil Biľak.

“On behalf of ÚPN and in the name of all the victims of the totalitarian communist regime, I strongly protest against the building of memorials 26 years after the end of communist totality to unpunished members and proponents of criminal organisations such as the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the Communist Party of Slovakia,” said chairman of the ÚPN board Ondrej Krajňák, as quoted by TASR.

He called on democratic powers in Slovakia to join the protest and condemn an initiative that defiles the memory of victims of communist totality. At the same time he called on law enforcement authorities to take action concerning the brutal physical assault on Lorenz.

Also Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská has commented on the case, expressing concern over revealing memorials to personalities from the totalitarian era.

“The victims of the regime, not their representatives, deserve the honour,” Žitňanská said, as quoted by SITA.

She also expressed regret over the attack on Lorenz.

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