Slovakia: Antifascists try to block neo-Nazi march celebrating WWII-era fascist state
Approximately 150 neo-Nazis marched today through the center of Bratislava to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the creation of the fascist Slovak State. The same number of their opponents gathered for an assembly organized by the "Nazi-Free Bratislava" initiative on Slovak National Uprising Square; police arrested one antifascist activist.
Neo-Nazis celebrate Tiso, rail against capitalism
Those sympathizing with the neo-Nazi march began to assemble around noon at Bratislava's main train station. Shortly after 1 PM they marched to Hodžovo Square, where the Office of the Slovak President is located.
"For many people, 14 March is just a day like any other, they don't know know the history of this important date. Only the enemies of the Slovak nation and the traitors who have long been working against the rights of the Slovak people are capable of belittling this significant day," said Michal Buchta, a leading representative of the extremist movement Slovak Solidarity (Slovenská pospolitost - SP) in a speech.
Buchta said the first Slovak Republic developed the country economically, expressing appreciation for former Slovak President Jozef Tiso. After the Second World War ended, Tiso was convicted of treason, sentenced to death and executed.
Jakub Škrabák. the SP leader, gave a speech criticizing capitalism and the alleged economic occupation of Slovakia. The assembly near the headquarters of the Slovak President in the center of Bratislava was attended by young people in particular, dressed in black or in camouflage and carrying photographs of Tiso and Slovak flags; police were on hand to maintain order.
March had to deviate because of antifascist blockade
After the speeches, the neo-Nazi crowd set out on their march to the cemetery in order to lay wreaths at Tiso's memorial. Those opposed to the neo-Nazis who had assembled on Slovak National Uprising Square wanted to blockade the march.
"Those who subscribe to the legacy of the the independent Slovak State even today argue that it provided a good life for its inhabitants, but they deny the fact that murder and violence have nothing in common with a good life or with respectability," the antifascists said in a statement. They also pointed out that should such a group ever get into power, it would threaten not just "hated minorities", but everyone who prefers democracy, freedom and understanding to repression and violence.
The antifascists called on people to "stand in the way of evil". The neo-Nazi march did not ultimately make it to their prepared blockade.
Police re-routed the march, but radical antifascists attempted to block it nonetheless. Officers prevented their doing so and arrested activist Robert Mihály.
The demonstration protesting fascism was attended by several famous Slovak figures, including former Mayor of Bratislava Milan Ftáčnik. Most Slovak historians consider the wartime republic of 1939-1945 to have been a dark time in Slovak history because, as they have repeatedly pointed out, Jews were persecuted in the Slovak State and transported from there to the concentration camps.
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