Supporters of the far-right People’s Party – Our Slovakia (ĽSNS) got into cars on August 19 and started a protest drive across the Banská Bystrica Region.
Few days before the event, ĽSNS deputy chair Milan Uhrík called on people to join the protest drive. If that did not help improve their situation, the party was ready to occupy Bratislava, the Denník N daily reported.
The daily wrote that was hard to estimate how many cars with green stickers or flags with the party’s logo joined the drive as the cars mixed with others and the convoy became longer.
It was also hard to say why ĽSNS called their campaign “The Drive of Decent People Against Asocial Extremists”. Uhrík explained on Facebook that “groups of asocial individuals keep stealing, raping and killing innocent people” and everybody who points to it is persecuted for extremism.
However, Denník N reports that neither party’s chair Marian Kotleba, nor party members Stanislav Mizík and Milan Mazurek are being persecuted for pointing to unspecified thefts and rapes, but rather for extremist crimes.
“No” from retail chains
ĽSNS supporters met on August 19 at the parking lot in front of the Tesco retail chain in Banská Bystrica, though Tesco had not approved the convoy’s meeting. Also Lidl, another retail chain, banned ĽSNS supporters from meeting in its parking lot, the Bystricoviny.sk website reported.
The original plan was to occupy the parking lots of Tesco in Rimavská Sobota, as well as those of Lidl in Detva and Tisovec.
“I heard about this activity for the first time. Nobody informed us nor asked for permission to use our parking lots for the promotion of a political party,” spokesperson for Tesco Martin Krajčovič told the Omediach.com website, adding that they will check the planned event.
Krajčovič also stressed that the retail chain is against any promotion of fascism or Nazism.
Lidl’s spokesperson Tomáš Bezák issued a similar statement, stressing that they are an apolitical company.
“We clearly distance ourselves from all political activities and do not approve of them taking place in our parking lots,” Bezák said, adding that ĽSNS has not asked for any permission. “In case they try to carry out its intention, they will be ordered to leave our premises.”
Activists criticise the drive
Meanwhile, the No in Our City initiative criticised the drive, describing it as a vulgar gesture towards people.
“It is our duty to respond to similar actions against the people living in our region,” reads the official statement published on a social network.
The members of the initiative also said that they disagree with the current government in Slovakia, but they do not think that fascism, neo-Nazism and similar extremes are an alternative.
The group also protested against the drive and met with its participants face-to-face in Brezno. Though they had to withstand insults from extremists, they remained because they think people have to understand what kind of people ĽSNS supporters are.
“We need to oppose this everywhere and every time, even if there are only 10 of us,” the statement reads.
They also thanked the police for managing the situation and preventing a more serious incident.
22. Aug 2017 at 14:34 | Compiled by Spectator staff