Slovakia: Opponents of fascist party prevent it from assembling, play Romani music
Slovak media report that hundreds of people assembled on 21 January on the square in front of the town hall in Levoča, Slovakia to protest against a planned rally by the "People's Party Our Slovakia" (ĽSNS), chaired by Marian Kotleba. The organizers eventually cancelled the rally, citing "safety reasons".
The protest was convened by the civic initiative "Hate-Free Levoča" (Levoča bez nenávisti). The ĽSNS assembly had been scheduled for 16:00.
The civic initiative planned its protests for the same time. Hundreds of locals came out to express their disagreement directly in front of the podium.
"Fascists go home! We don't want you here! This is our home!" local residents shouted at the Kotleba supporters.
Romani music was also played by the demonstrators. "I'm here because I'm convinced it's not enough just to curse the situation, it's necessary to also take action. This is the democratic way to stand up and say I disagree with this and want to change it. Under no circumstances do I identify with it, and in my view it's absolutely unacceptable to agree with this situation, or to ignore the information that the 'People's Party Our Slovakia' is communicating. It's not possible, in the 21st century, that an assembly is being convened on a public square to disseminate such hateful ideas and we all would just be spectators," a local resident named Štefánia told news server Dnes 24.
"I disagree with a party that promotes fascism coming to the fore. In my opinion the ĽSNS should have been dissolved long ago. This party disseminates hatred," a woman named Miriam from Spišská Nová Ves told the news server.
Organizers of the party's rally alleged they were cancelling it out of concern for their safety. "On the basis of the information that there are paid people here who are prepared to harm those attending, and taking into consideration the safety of those present, we are cancelling the rally and leaving," the ĽSNS member Milan Mazurek, who has previously been convicted of felony defamation, alleged to those assembled just before the planned beginning of the rally.
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