March 23, 2023

Bratislava – A crowd of several thousands, mainly young people, protested against the refugee inflow into the EU in Bratislava today, addressed by Marian Kotleba, an ultra-right radical and governor of one of the country´s self-rule regions.
Following the official part of the demonstration, the police detained dozens of the protesters who breached the peace at various places in the city.

The protest, the first of its kind in Slovakia since the outburst of the migration crisis, was held under the motto Stop Islamisation of Europe.

Another meeting, held elsewhere in the centre of Bratislava and aimed against intolerance, had a much lower attendance.

“I am happy that so many of us have gathered here to defend Slovakia. In the current situation, we cannot make concessions any more. Our moral duty is to secure [the safety] of our own children, nation and state,” Kotleba, the election leader of the far-right extra-parliamentary party Our Slovakia, told the rally.

“We are not here to stop immigrants, but to stop those who are destroying us from parliament and from the government. Our duty is to secure [an adequate treatment of] the traitors from parliament and the government,” Kotleba said, applauded by the crowd.

Kotleba, who does not conceal his support for the wartime Nazi-controlled Slovak state, also criticised members of the European Parliament for having backed immigration.

The participants in the demonstration chanted slogans such as “This is our home!” “Slovakia to Slovaks!” and slogans condemning the USA.

The organisers said they would stage another such demonstration soon.

Like the neighbouring Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, Slovakia is opposed to the EC-proposed quotas for the redistribution of refugees among all EU members.

Slovak politicians said Bratislava is ready to tackle the crisis based on the principle of voluntarism.

“There is a shortage of jobs for our people. The state fails to care for its citizens, nor does it construct flats. In this situation, do we want foreigners to be brought to our country?” Kotleba asked in his speech.

He said Slovakia´s assistance should rest in the sending of soldiers and police to guard the borders in Italy.

Other speakers, too, criticised the influx of migrants and the performance of the EU and NATO.

The speakers included Jiri Fronek, deputy chairman of the Czech far-right extra-parliamentary Workers´ Party of Social Justice (DSSS).

“Many of the immigrants suffer from diseases that Europe did not know even in the Middle Ages,” Fronek said.

The police told the media that ten demonstrators were taken to the police station for questioning. Fake explosives and cold weapons, including knives, were found on several protesters. Two police officers were hit by a tear gas attack from the crowd. The suspected perpetrator has been detained, the police said. Following the official part of the anti-refugee demonstration, the police detained at least 50 of the participants over breach of the peace.

In the Bratislava Castle complex, a group of the protesters attacked viewers of a cycling race. The police detained 25 perpetrators. About the same number of them were detained elsewhere after they damaged six police cars and threw a cobblestone at a police officer. Incidents also occurred at Bratislava´s main railway station, media reported.
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