On March 14, 2015, the wartime Slovak Republic, an ally of Nazi Germany, was commemorated by extremist nationalist groups during the annual “For Independent Slovakia” march. In previous years, the event had witnessed violent clashes between the extremist groups and anti-fascist activists. However, this year, marking the 76th anniversary of the establishment of the Slovak state, police intervention successfully prevented clashes by diverting the nationalists to a different location.
The march in Bratislava attracted around 200 admirers of the wartime Slovak state, who proceeded to the tomb of Jozef Tiso, the executed head of the state. An equal number of anti-fascist activists, including former Mayor of Bratislava Milan Ftáčnik, attended the event. These activists attempted to block the march but were stopped by the police.
The organizers of the march stated that they wanted to celebrate the establishment of an independent Slovakia in 1939, express their discontent with the perceived “Brussels dictatorship,” and call for Slovakia’s sovereignty and independence to be restored. The counter-protest, convened by the “Bratislava without Nazis Initiative,” was supported by around 30 high-profile personalities who signed a statement titled “Together Against Hate.” The statement highlighted that the establishment of the wartime Slovak Republic was “one of the most tragic moments in Slovakia’s history,” as some Slovak citizens faced repression, loss of rights, and sometimes death.