Around 3,000 people gathered in front of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s apartment in the Bonaparte residential complex in Bratislava on the evening of June 20 to protest against the alleged links of Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák to the purported tax frauds of businessman Ladislav Bašternák and calling for resignation of Kaliňák. Some of the people were carrying banners, including “No to Fico!” and “Kaliňák to jail”. A brown coffin even appeared in front of the speakers; platform bearing the inscription “Thievery must be buried”, the TASR newswire reported.
Several opposition figures delivered speeches. Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) leader Richard Sulik stated that Slovakia is taking the EU Council Presidency with a prime minister living in a flat that was “apparently built with money stolen via tax allowances”.
”This is a huge shame for Slovakia,” said Sulik in reference to Bašternák’s ownership of the flat rented out by Fico.
OĽaNO-NOVA chairman Igor Matovič stated that as many as eight companies were involved in various deals with Bašternák’s flats aimed at gaining tax allowances.
“How many frauds did Kaliňák cover up?” asked Matovič as cited by TASR.
The opinions of the number of protesters differed even among the organisers. SaS MP Martin Poliačik estimated that there could have been some 2,000 people, while Matovič some 15 minutes later said that as many as 5,000 red cards were distributed – a reference to the incident in 2008 involving former finance minister Ján Počiatek, who was shown a yellow card by Fico for being with J&T chieftains as the rate was being set for the Slovak crown to adopt the euro and J&T cashed in.
People will gather in front of the Fico’s apartment again next Monday when Matovič said in his speech that they would return in front of Fico’s apartment until he recalls Interior Minister Kaliňák.
21. Jun 2016 at 6:33 | Compiled by Spectator staff