Last Saturday thousands of people gathered for an anti-immigration rally in downtown Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Our Czech correspondent Gemini took a field trip to his eastern neighbor to see the rally, and sends the following report.
Report from Bratislava
It is very hard to write everything about the rally that took place on Saturday. However, I witnessed it and here is what I found most important to report:
|1.||The rally was called “Stop Islamization of Europe! Together against Brussels’ dictates. Europe for the Europeans.”|
|2.||While not openly at first, the rally was backed and organized mostly by a strongly nationalistic yet non-parliamentarian party called Ľudová Strana — Naše Slovensko (People’s Party — Our Slovakia).|
|3.||The attendance was huge. The media admit 5,000 participants; the people organizing it count 10,000. I believe there were no fewer than 8,000 people, covering most of the space in the largest square in Bratislava (Námestie SNP).|
|4.||The whole rally was attended mostly by young people. Many of them were young men with shaved heads, but regular people with families were also present there. Except for nationalistic slogans (“We are here at home”), threats and profanities were also chanted, targeted at Slovak politicians (“treason”, “hang them”) and against the U.S.A. (“F*** U.S.A.”). Most of the flags were those of the organizing political party and the like.|
|5.||The police presence was really impressive. They picked the route that ran right alongside the square where the counter-demonstration took place. Just a coincidence? Despite this, nothing happened to make them to stop the rally.|
|6.||Many different speakers shared the stage. While their speeches were mostly focused on mass immigration, warnings of approaching Islamic sharia were also openly expressed. Some speakers were frankly Christian. The crowd reacted most positively to Marian Kotleba, the leader of the party Ľudová Strana — Naše Slovensko. Much to my surprise, he wasn’t as anti-EU as one would expect. He even expressed his wish that Slovak army would help guard the Italian border! Despite this, some other speakers were strongly against the EU and the U.S.A. One also blamed the state of Israel mostly. It is also important to note that the crowd reacted positively to an appeal to give shelter to Syrian Christians.|
|7.||According to the organizers, other similar rallies are planned for the near future.
|8.||The rally ended quietly. Absolutely nothing disturbing happened there.|
|9.||Two incidents occurred after the rally was over. Some people threw stones at one Saudi Arabian family in the town. The other incident happened in another part of town where some of the rally attendees (organizers blame some group of football hooligans) violently disrupted an international sporting event, extreme bike-racing taking place in the Castle of Bratislava.|
|10.||Media and politicians (including the president) remain decisively focused on the incidents that happened after the rally was over. The whole rally is now being described and Nazi-like, violent and extremist. I believe they managed to smear the whole event very effectively; they made many people scared.
It is hard to say yet what the future will bring for Slovakia.
Sources for photos:
Supporters / organizers:
Also, some English-language reports:
From Fox News:
Thousands of right wing extremists rally in Slovak capital against refugees, clash with police
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Thousands of people have rallied in Bratislava against what they call an “Islamization of Europe” and to oppose a European Union plan for member states to share the burden of hosting a surge of asylum-seekers.
Police say some 300 protesters attacked spectators of a cycle race and clashed with police later Saturday. The City Downhill World Tour Bratislava 2015 race had to be interrupted.
The protesters, mainly right-wing extremists, also tried to attack a smaller demonstration in favor of hosting refugees.
Police spokeswoman Tatiana Kurucova said dozens were detained while three officers suffered injuries.
The protesters condemned an EU plan to divide up refugees arriving largely in Italy and Greece between member states.
Slovakia is expected to accept 785, although the government opposes it.
Thousands rally against immigration in Bratislava
Thousands of people protested against immigration and EU quotas on migrant numbers at a rally organised by an anti-Islam movement in Bratislava on Saturday.
The rally organised by a group called Stop the Islamisation of Europe drew up to 8,000 people, according to Slovakian media, while the police declined to give an estimate.
Protesters included Marian Kotleba, the governor of a central Slovakian region and founder of the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia.
“I wish you a nice, white day… we are here to save Slovakia,” Kotleba told the crowd.
The protest was called after the European Commission said in May that Slovakia, an EU and NATO member of 5.4 million people, should accept 471 migrants from Italy and 314 from Greece.
One of the protesters was taken into custody after using tear gas against the police, and the crowd also shredded the blue EU flag offered by one of the speakers.
Riot police also stepped in to separate the protesters from about 200 people planning to block the rally.
Hat tips for the English-language articles: Fjordman and C. Cantoni.