Bratislava, August 21 (TASR) – Former political prisoners, politicians, ambassadors, soldiers and the public commemorated the memory of the victims of Czechoslovakia’s occupation by Warsaw Pact troops at a memorial plaque in front of the Comenius University in Bratislava on Tuesday.
“We are at a place where three people died and today we’ll also honour all the others who died as victims of the occupation,” said Confederation of Political Prisoners (KPVS) chairman Peter Sandtner, welcoming the guests of the event which is organised annually by the institution.
“More political prisoners went to prisons, the very first of them for their active participation on August 21. A number of people were also jailed for protesting on the first anniversary of the occupation in 1969,” said Sandtner, explaining why this date is so important for KPVS. “De facto, all of us were victims of the occupation, except for a bunch of collaborators,” added MP for OLaNO and former political prisoner Jan Budaj.
The commemoration was also attended by Parliamentary Chair Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS), Parliamentary Vice-chair Bela Bugar (Most-Hid), Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (SNS), Education, Science, Research and Sports Minister Martina Lubyova (SNS), Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (SNS), state secretaries, coalition and Opposition MPs, MEP Ivan Stefanec, Bratislava Region Governor Juraj Droba (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS), several ambassadors, representatives of embassies and high military officers. Victims of the occupation were also honoured by Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor-Viorel Melescanu, who is paying a two-day visit to Slovakia.
In addition to politicians, ambassadors and soldiers, representatives of several movements and initiatives, including the ‘For a Decent Slovakia’ initiative, attended the event. “The courageous sacrifice of the innocent, who weren’t scared off by the occupiers, is a challenge and motivation for us to continue in the struggle for a decent Slovakia,” they said on this occasion.