Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

UPDATED: 9. MAR 2018, AT 19:34

UPDATED: Enough of Fico, thousands of people shouted at gatherings across Slovakia

The organisers were calling for thorough investigation of the double murder of the young investigative journalist and his fiancée along with a new government

About 50,000 people gathered in Bratislava.(Source: Sme)

About 50,000 people participated in the gathering held on March 9 in SNP Square in Bratislava, making it one of the biggest public gatherings in Slovakia’s history.

“Our whole family got a bullet to the heart,” said Mária Kuciaková, sister of the killed journalist, thanking the participants for coming and showing that they care. “Also, Martinka and Janko care.”

The event was much bigger than last week’s march that paid tribute to investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, who were murdered in their house in Veľká Mača, close to Galanta (Trnava Region). Up to 25,000 people marched the streets of the capital on March 2, with thousands of others attending the gatherings and candle lighting ceremonies in other towns and cities across Slovakia and abroad.

The gathering titled “Let’s stand for decency in Slovakia” had a different character than last week’s march, as this time the organisers also came with some demands. These included a thorough and independent investigation into the murders of Kuciak and Kušnírová with the participation of international teams of investigators, and a new, trustworthy government that will not include people suspected of corruption or links to organised crime.

The demands are just the first step, said one of the organisers, Katarína Nagy Pázmány.

“We should not have to ask for this in a decent country,” she added. “In a decent country, this should be a must.”

Ringing with keys returned to the streets

Much like the March 2 march, the gathering was apolitical. Representatives of civic society, journalists, as well as teachers, medical and cultural associations were invited to the stage to talk to the crowd. They all pointed to the current state of the society, criticising the government for inactivity and calling on people to continue to be active and make sure the case is not forgotten about.

The speeches were accompanied by the ringing of keys, reminiscent of the Velvet Revolution which brought down the communist regime in the country. People were shouting slogans like “We do care” and “Enough of Fico”.

Former Trnava archbishop Robert Bezák said he does not see outraged, but rather resolute people. In his opinion, many politicians should realise that if law and justice retreat to the background, the same will happen to them, as was shown in the past.

“We’ve learnt to be uncaring of all scandals and deeds that have not happened, but the murder of a person should not be lost in time,” Bezák said. “It would be a sign that we are morally broken and that we don’t care at all. But we do care. Janko and Martinka will always remain in our hearts.”

Editor-in-Chief of the Týždeň weekly, Štefan Hríb, reminded in his speech of the recent events, as well as some facts mentioned in Kuciak’s last story.

“Much has been said, but very little has been done,” he said, stressing that rising GDP or free trains are not important for the country, but rather justice.

Extensive support

The protest has been supported by several universities in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, teachers, school associations, artists and non-governmental organisations. 21 universities cancelled afternoon lectures to allow students and employees to attend the protests.

The safety of the participants was supervised by the police officers. No serious incident occurred.

The gatherings also took place in 48 other towns and cities in Slovakia and 17 places abroad (see the list here).

Top stories

Several Christians disagree with Church’s stance towards extremists

The extremist ĽSNS party drafted a bill limiting abortions in Slovakia, creating an awkward situation for the Church.

Illustrative stock photo

“I will not be playing ice-hockey anymore,” says Hossa

Health issues have caused the NHL player to withdraw from matches and consider moving back to Slovakia.

Marián Hossa kisses the Stanley Cup won by his Chicago Blackhawks team in June 2015.

A happy marriage? Both simpler, and tougher, than we realize

If experience is the mother of wisdom, why aren’t second and third marriages more successful?

Babiš at Globsec: Immigration quotas will not protect our continent

Immigration, innovation and security were some of the topics discussed during a panel discussion at the 2018 Globsec conference.

Czech PM Andrej Babiš at GLOBSEC 2018