Local councillors charged for keeping controversial street name

The councillors have submitted a complaint in response.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SITA)

The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) pressed charges against 10 councillors from the village of Varín (Žilina Region) in late December.

The councillors in question attended a session of the local council in Varín and disagreed with renaming a street that bears the name of Jozef Tiso, who was the president of the Nazi-allied wartime Slovak state.

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The councillors are said to express sympathies towards a movement aimed at suppressing fundamental rights and freedoms, the TASR newswire reported. If found guilty, they could spend anywhere from six months to three years in prison.

They all disagree with the charges and have submitted a complaint to the police, TASR wrote.

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Opponent to street name awarded

Varín is a village of about 3,800 inhabitants near Žilina and the very last village with a street that still bears Tiso's name.

One of its councillors, non-partisan Lenka Ticháková, has been pushing the municipality to rename the street since December 2019. Yet, she has faced slurs, preponderance and misunderstanding in the village for her efforts.

Many objected that they would have to exchange their documents and IDs due to the change of street name and recommended that she move out if she was discontent with the name.

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She was one of the laureates of the 2021 White Crow awards, granted for civic courage.

“I’m also a [Catholic] believer, but I think that a believer is not someone who goes to church but who acts that way,” Ticháková told the Sme daily in a 2020 interview. “And to defend a person who does not deserve defence? Almost 70,000 people from Slovakia lost their lives because of Tiso. He knew where they would end up but did not intervene,” she added.

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