Another ‘For a Decent Slovakia’ Rally in Bratislava Draws Thousands

For a Decent Slovakia rally in Bratislava in November 2018 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 16 (TASR) – The SNP Square in Bratislava on Friday saw another ‘For a Decent Slovakia’ rally  that drew thousands of people, TASR learnt on the same day.

The crowd in the protest held on the eve of the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet revolution repeatedly chanted slogans such as ‘Shame!’, ‘We came here for free!’ and ‘Thank you’.

Various activists, representatives of the November’89 student movement (Filip Vagac, Zuzana Mistrikova, Peter Zajac, Fedor Gal and Martin Butora), journalists (Pavla Holcova, Martin Strizinec) and several actors (Tana Pauhofova, Richard Stanke, Kristina Farkasova) addressed the people during the rally.

“We want to honour and commemorate the fact that in 1989 tens of thousands of people stood at the square and fought for freedom. This struggle hasn’t ended, as the protection of civil society and the fight against conspiracy are a constant battle to which we want to contribute. This is the way towards decency,” said one of the organisers Juraj Seliga, adding that the events of the past week, including the attacks on journalists, attacks on civil society and conspiracy raised against the organisers of the protests, were among the main reasons why they staged the rally again.

Czech investigative journalist Pavla Holcova and former colleague of the murdered journalist Jan Kuciak (whose murder in February launched a series of mass protests across the country) said in her speech that the year of 2018 has been the hardest one for her and for many other journalists. “What we experienced in late February was the touch of absolute evil. It was a certain accumulation of absolute helplessness of journalists,” she said, thanking the crowd for attending the rallies and thus helping the journalists to overcome the despair. “Many of us wanted to give up. We told ourselves that we could find new, safer jobs, but the fact that you came helped,” she added.

The police didn’t record any violation of the public order during the almost two-hour rally.

In addition to Bratislava, the rallies also took place in seven other Slovak towns – Banska Bystrica, Kosice, Prievidza (Trencin region), Ziar nad Hronom (Banska Bystrica region), Zilina, Levice (Nitra region) and Kezmarok (Presov region). The protests were also held London and Dublin.