Opposition parties Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and OĽaNO-NOVA on Monday, July 18, continued in a series of protests in front of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s private flat in the Bonaparte housing complex in Bratislava.
Around 700 people attended the demo, with OĽaNO-NOVA leader Igor Matovič, SaS MP Anna Zemanová, independent MP Zsolt Simon and former OĽaNO's proxy for the Roma Peter Pollák appearing on the dais.
With a threat of a €33,000 fine, the Old Town municipality prevented the organisers from building a podium in front of the housing complex.
Matovič admitted that they did not have permission, but added that they asked for it four weeks ago. Normally it lasts one day to get such a permission. The protesters instead built the podium on the plot next to the complex.
Many of the attendees were holding red cards meant as a sending off message for Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák’s purported cover up of businessman Ladislav Bašternák’s alleged tax frauds.
The Bonaparte complex also belongs to Bašternák.
Protesters several times called on Kaliňák to be put in prison, among other shouts. Roma music band Gypsy Daniel from eastern Slovakia played towards the end of the protest.
The opposition has so far failed in its attempts to remove Kaliňák via no-confidence motions in Parliament. The two most recent motions were blocked by the coalition in parliament. Meanwhile, Fico keeps defending Kaliňák as one of the most successful interior ministers in Slovakia's history, claiming that he's also enjoying the support of foreign partners.
However, at a recent hearing in the European Parliament, French MEP Eva Joly doubted Kaliňák’s credibility and recommended him to give up his ministerial post over the Bašternák case. Joly investigated corruption in France for years and she questions the independence of the investigation in Slovakia as long as Kaliňák remains interior minister.
There has been a similar gathering every Monday since June 20, while estimates of up to 5,000 people have reportedly attended earlier demonstrations.
19. Jul 2016 at 6:52 | Compiled by Spectator staff