Far-right ĽSNS supporters attack PS/Spolu members at a gathering

A Trnava protest against extremism resulted in several incidents.

Trnava locals walk out to the streets in response to a gathering held by the far-right ĽSNS party on January 31, 2020, in Trnava. Trnava locals walk out to the streets in response to a gathering held by the far-right ĽSNS party on January 31, 2020, in Trnava. (Source: Martina Radošovská)

The atmosphere at two public gatherings in Trnava, in which two different groups stood against each other at the same time, was intense, leading to several incidents.

The far-right People's Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS) held its pre-election event in the city while the Trnava Does Not Discuss with Fascists initiative organised its own anti-extremism event on January 31. More than a thousand people took part in both events, of which anti-extremism protesters dominated the Trnava streets, the Sme daily reported.

Despite police forces being present, one of the incidents involved an attack on members of the Progressive Slovakia/Spolu (PS/Spolu) coalition of parties, including candidate Pavel Sibyla. The incident happened after the protest as a group of politicians walked towards a car.

“Their politically motivated extremist act must be properly looked into and punished,” PS/Spolu leader Michal Truban wrote on Facebook. He reported two of their members were attacked.

Police said on February 1 they intervened and arrested people who disrupted the peaceful gatherings, regardless of their political preferences and personal opinions.

A fight over posters

PS/Spolu members filed a criminal complaint and were heard at the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) after the protest.

Pavel Sibyla said a group of ĽSNS supporters began shouting at Truban at first. Later, walking through a park from the meeting, they approached Sibyla and other party members. Extremists wanted their banners.

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“I did not mean to give up on my banner,” Sibyla wrote on Facebook. One of the extremists lost his nerve over Sibyla’s refusal and approached the politician from the back and hit him in the head. Another member was also attacked.

“Not that I was surprised by what happened,” Sibyla wrote. “They were already gesturing how they were going to cut our necks during a protest.”

Trnava mayor joined protests

Not only PS/Spolu members but also the Trnva Self-Governing Region chair Jozef Viskupič, the Sereď Holocaust Museum head, and Trnava mayor Peter Bročka took part in the anti-extremism gathering, Sme wrote.

The cultural centre Nádvorie put up a banner “What would Mr Wetzler have said today?” on its façade in support of the anti-extremism protest. Alfred Wetzler was a Trnava native who escaped from Auschwitz 76 years ago. The testimony of Rudolf Vrba and Wetzler is 32 pages-long and is also known by the name, The Auschwitz Protocols. It is one of the most important documents about the Holocaust tragedy.

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