Candle lit memorial for Jan Kuciak and fiance

Bratislava/Prague, March 2 (CTK) – Thousands of people gathered in the centre of Bratislava today to pay respect to investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova who were shot dead last week probably by mafia operating in Slovakia.


The murder of the two young people rocked the Slovak political scene. A national security body officer and a prime minister’s aide resigned from their posts in reaction to the investigation of suspected links to Italian mafia, several of whose members were allegedly among the seven people whom the Slovak police arrested this week.


Culture Minister Marek Madaric (Smer-Social Democracy) also gave up his post in reaction to the tragedy, but the opposition and the junior government Most-Hid calls for the resignation of Interior Minister Jan Kalinak (Smer) and Police President Tibor Gaspar.


Kusnirova’s funeral was held in Gregorovce, east Slovakia, this afternoon. A crowded church remembered the local girl who was 27 years old, the same age as Kuciak.


Kuciak wrote about dubious practices of Slovak businesspeople and he was working on a report on Italian businessman Antonino Vadala, an alleged member of the ‘Ndrangheta Calabrian mafia, and his links to Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Smer.


Commemorative gatherings were held today in a number of Slovak towns but also in the Czech Republic and other countries. The events are called “We Don’t Want the 1990s Back! March for Jan and Martina.” The title refers to the rule of authoritarian Slovak prime minister Vladimir Meciar and the scandals related to his governments.


In Bratislava, people carried a large banner saying “Attack on Journalists = Attack on All of Us.”


The march is to end outside the Slovak Government Office with speeches delivered by journalists.


Outside the Slovak Embassy in Prague, several hundred of mostly young people paid respect to the murdered couple with candles, hand-written messages and the photographs of the victims.


In a central square of the Moravian city of Brno, up to 1000 people gathered.