Students in Slovak town object to protest seeking to exploit still-unclarified tragedy
Members of the "People's Party Our Slovakia" (Ľudová strana Naše Slovensko), a neo-Nazi party led by the ultra-nationalist Marian Kotleba, convened a recent protest in the town of Tisovec called "Tisovec against Roma". The pretext for the protest is the alleged killing of a disabled pensioner by three Romani youths, two of whom are minors.
Along with their call for people to attend the protest, the organizers published a piece authored by Stanislav Mízik, who was charged last year with extremism. His text and the video released online to advertise the protest both speak of "murdering asocial parasites".
The victim of the youths' alleged assault was found dead the next day and a woman was also found injured on the grounds of the single-family home, as was confirmed to news server topky.cz by the spokesperson for the Banská Bystrica Police, Petra Kováčiková. "In association with this fatality, the police have initiated a criminal proceedings on charges of manslaughter. A forensics expert was summoned to the crime scene. Whether the behavior of the assailants the day before could have affected the death will be determined after the court-ordered autopsy," she said.
Despite the facts not yet being ascertained, Kotleba's followers descended upon Tisovec. They drove a van around the town with a loudspeaker calling on people to attended a big demonstration to respond to the death.
Students attending a local college preparatory school, the Tisovec Lutheran High School, spontaneously blocked the van in its tracks and also unfurled a flag with a crossed-out Nazi swastika on the front of their school building. Martin Dubéci, a graduate of the school and member of the political movement called "Progressive Slovakia", also commented on the events.
"I studied in Tisovec for five years. Not much has changed since I was there in 2001, including, unfortunately, an enormous local problem with concentrated poverty - which knows no ethnic borders, by the way. There is both Romani and white poverty there. In the case of this assault, both the attackers and the victim were living on the fringes of society," Dubéci wrote.
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