Bratislava, March 23 (CTK) – Thousands of people took part in a march in memory of the murdered Slovak journalists Jan Kuciak and his fiancee in Bratislava, after which some of the demonstrators went to the parliament seat to call for early elections today.
The meeting was held by university students after the organisers, activists from the For Decent Slovakia civic group, cancelled the planned anti-government protest in reaction to the appointment of a new government on Thursday.
Similar meetings were held in other Slovak towns and abroad, for instance in the neighbouring Czech Republic, today.
In Bratislava, the crowd met outside the Comenius University seat and then walked to a nearby square where big demonstrations were staged in the past days.
“We students have decided to be involved in the developments in our country. We want to stand up for changes in Slovakia. Let us not forget that we all are responsible for our country and for how we live in it,” Timotej Lauko said on behalf of the organisers.
At the end of the short gathering, the demonstrators started shouting “elections.”
Students also lit candles in memory of Kuciak and his fiancee who were shot dead in late February.
Afterwards, some 1,500 people went to the parliament where they chanted slogans for early elections and against the new government formed by the same coalition.
Police protected the parliament seat from the crowd.
Earlier today, the parliament started debating the proposal of voting confidence in the new government, but the session ended before the demonstrators approached the building.
The anti-government demonstrations, the biggest since the fall of the communist regime in 1989, were held in Bratislava and other Slovak towns in the past two weeks. The protesters demanded early elections.
In Bratislava alone, more than 50,000 people took part in each of the anti-government rallies. The attendance at today’s demonstration was considerably lower.
President Andrej Kiska appointed a new government headed by PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer-Social Democracy) and comprised of the current coalition parties, the Smer-Social Democracy, Slovak National Party (SNS) and Most-Hid this week.
The coalition agreed to form a new cabinet after Smer-SD chairman Robert Fico resigned as prime minister last week amid a political crisis caused by the journalist’s murder. Most ministers from Fico’s team continue in the new cabinet.