Protest organisers refuse to meet Drucker, demonstrations will continue

This time, the Bratislava event takes place on Thursday, April 5, as the SNP Square is booked for Friday.

Bratislava "For Decent Slovakia" gathering on March 16, 2018. Bratislava "For Decent Slovakia" gathering on March 16, 2018. (Source: Braňo Lengyel & Nina Nováková)

For a Decent Slovakia will hold a protest on Thursday, April 5, at 17:00 in the SNP Square in Bratislava. Unlike previous protests, this one will not take place on Friday because the site is already booked for another meeting, the Sme daily wrote on March 28.

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The reason for the protest gathering is dissatisfaction with the steps of the cabinet led by Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, and especially with the new Interior Minister, Tomáš Drucker.

After coordinating with organisers from other Slovak regions, the For a Decent Slovakia initiative decided to summon public meetings again.

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In other cities, the protests, marches, or other activities will take place either on April 5, or on April 6, depending on due capacity.

Reasons for new protest

“Mr. Drucker claims to need time to decide on the new police president,” organisers wrote on Facebook. “If politicians were able to form a new government within two days, we don’t understand his excuse that he cannot find a new police president from among decent and good police officers within a few days.”

Read also: There is still work to be done Read more 

"On Thursday, April 5, it will be ten days since the approving confidence vote in the cabinet, and despite this fact, we don’t see a clear sign that the new cabinet is serious about its effort to renew public trust; and instead, we still hear only that they need time to get oriented in something we all clearly see and understand,” they stated, as quoted by Sme.

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“If Drucker really wants the public to believe in the independence of the investigation of Ján (Kuciak)’s and Martina (Kušnírová)’s murder, as well as the cases Ján exposed, then recalling [Police Corps President Tibor] Gašpar, clear systemic changes in police inspection, and de-politicising of police leadership are the first inevitable steps to even aspire the public to trust in him,” organisers opine.

Read also: Thousands of people returned to the streets Read more 

No meeting until Gašpar holds post

Meanwhile, the organisers of the protests refused to meet Drucker until he recalls Gašpar.

“The organisers of the For Decent Slovakia rallies were repeatedly invited by Minister Drucker’s office to a meeting,” they wrote in a joint statement, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “The exact purpose of the personal meeting was not clear; we have rather learned that the minister of interior wants to explain his attitude to us.”

However, they have agreed to the meeting on the condition of Gašpar’s dismissal.

“We consider this dismissal the first and indispensable step for the beginning of restoring confidence in the new leadership of the Interior Ministry as well as a step towards fulfilling the requirement of an independent investigation into the murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová and all cases that Ján and his fellow journalists have uncovered and continue in doing so,” the organisers added, as quoted by SITA.

Protests take place also in other cities

In Bratislava, the SNP Square is already booked for April 6, so the protest takes place April 5.

Apart from Bratislava, the gatherings will also take place in other Slovak towns and cities, most of them scheduled for April 5, but some will happen on April 6. Check out the events in Slovakia here:

The gatherings will also take place abroad:

  • Amsterdam, April 5 at 19:00, Dam Square
  • Berlin, April 8 (Sunday) at 16:00
  • Dublin, April 5 at 18:00, Slovak Embassy in Dublin
  • Manchester, April 5 at 18:00, Piccadilly Gardens
  • Palo Alto, April 5 at 18:00, Hoover Park
  • Prague, April 5 at 17:00, Václavské Náměstí Square
  • Sheffield, April 6 (Friday) at 18:30, Sheffield City Hall
  • Stockholm, April 5 at 17:00, Slovak Embassy in Stockholm

This article was first published on March 29.

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