Third Anti-corruption March in Bratislava Draws Thousands

Third anti-corruption march on September 25, 2017 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 25 (TASR) – The third anti-corruption march, organised by high school and university students, was held in Bratislava on Monday evening.

A crowd of people carrying Slovak and EU flags and a large placard reading ‘Step by Step Against Corruption’ marched across the old town centre from Hviezdoslavovo Square to SNP Square. Once again, the civic protest drew turnout in thousands and had a peaceful course without incidents.

The crowd chanted calls urging Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD), Police Corps President Tibor Gaspar and Special Prosecutor Dusan Kovacik to resign – a key set of demands raised by protest organisers. Also calling for Kalinak’s ouster is a petition that has already collected 70,000 signatures.

“We’re not opposition, we’re not media and we’re not obsessed with Kalinak. We just want the rules to apply to everyone equally,” high school student and co-organiser Robert Martin Hudec said in his speech. The protest received support from film director Tereza Nvotova, Bratislava acting students, Vladimir Crmoman of the Slovak Teachers Initiative and scientist Miloslav Bahna.

“We need an Interior Minister who creates conditions for investigating tax frauds and not the Interior Minister who buys flats from tax fraudsters,” said Bahna.

The speakers also responded to the latest anti-corruption activities by Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD). Event co-organiser Karolina Farska considers Fico’s offer to have two university graduates sent to two-year postgrad study at the International Anti-corruption Academy in Austria and other measures inadequate.

“This study truly is quite important and crucial, but I think that people don’t need education on corruption to see that something isn’t right with this state,” said Farska, a high school student.

The students harbour a set of demands similar to their previous marches: investigations into the “Basternak” and “Gorilla” cases, the ouster of Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) and Police Corps President Tibor Gaspar as well as the resignation of Special Prosecutor Dusan Kovacik. The only demand that was met to date was the abrogation of Vladimir Meciar’s amnesties by the Parliament.