Rally for Slain Slovak Journalist Jan Kuciak

Bratislava, March 9 (CTK) – Rallies protesting against Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government and demanding an independent investigation into the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee were held in Bratislava and tens of towns across Slovakia today.


The demonstration at a square in Bratislava’s centre was the biggest since the protests held before the ousting of the Communist regime in 1989. There were the estimated 30,000 people.


“In recent days, Slovakia is shaken as it was not long time before. We want to plead for a decent and democratic country,” civic activists Juraj Seliga and Karolina Farska told the crowd.


The protesters were shouting “Down with Fico” and “Resign, resign.” Some of them waved the banners saying “Beware, government falling” or “We want a decent Slovakia.”


Speeches were delivered by representatives of journalists, teachers, social services workers and actors. There was also a sister of Kuciak.


“I would like to thank all of you. Thank you for your being here and for taking interest in this and for your not being indifferent to this,” Maria Kuciakova said.


Former Trnava archbishop Robert Bezak was also applauded for his words.


“Maybe we have learnt to be indifferent, to react with resignation to all the scandals. However, if the slaying of a man were ignored, lost in time, this would mean that we are morally perverted,” Bezak said.


The demonstrations were called by the civic activists who also organised commemorative events for the murdered young people. They were held inside and outside the country a week ago.


A number of universities gave a day off to their students so that they may take part in the rallies.


After the end of the rally, several hundred of protesters marched to the Government Office where they sang the national anthem and chanted slogans against Fico and the government.


The Slovak police said Kuciak’s murder might have been related to his work, especially to his reports on activities of Italian mafia in Slovakia and their possible connections to local politicians and entrepreneurs.


The case has rocked the political situation in the country.


Slovak President Andrej Kiska has called for a government reshuffle or an early election. Fico has blamed Kiska for threatening the stability of the country. The political opposition and the junior government Most-Hid demand the sacking of Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-Social Democracy) who has refused to do so.