April 19, 2024

On June 20, 2015, thousands of people, primarily young individuals, gathered in Bratislava to protest against the inflow of refugees into the European Union. The demonstration was the first of its kind in Slovakia since the beginning of the migration crisis and was organized under the motto “Stop Islamisation of Europe.” Ultra-right radical Marian Kotleba, a governor of one of Slovakia’s self-rule regions, addressed the crowd. Following the official part of the protest, the police detained dozens of demonstrators who breached the peace at various places in the city.

Another meeting, aimed against intolerance, was held elsewhere in Bratislava but had a significantly lower attendance. Kotleba, the election leader of the far-right extra-parliamentary party Our Slovakia, expressed his happiness at the large turnout and emphasized the need to defend Slovakia, secure the safety of the nation, and oppose the decisions of the parliament and government that support immigration.

The crowd chanted slogans such as “This is our home!” and “Slovakia to Slovaks!” while also condemning the United States. The organizers announced plans to stage another demonstration in the near future. Along with other incidents, an attack on a family occurred at Bratislava’s main railway station.

Slovakia, along with neighboring countries Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, opposes the European Commission’s proposed quotas for redistributing refugees among all EU member states. Slovak politicians have stated that Bratislava is prepared to tackle the crisis based on the principle of voluntarism.

Kotleba highlighted the shortage of jobs and housing for Slovak citizens and questioned the need for bringing in foreigners. He suggested that Slovakia should send soldiers and police to guard the borders in Italy as a form of assistance.