• Saturday, 15 June 2024

Slovakia's interior minister: Attack on Fico had a 'political motive'

Slovakia's interior minister: Attack on Fico had a 'political motive'

Bratislava, 15 May 2024 (dpa/MIA) - The assassination attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico had a "political motive," Interior Minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok told journalists on Wednesday evening at the hospital in Banská Bystrica, where Fico, 59, was operated on. His condition is listed as life-threatening.

Fighting back tears, Defence Minister Robert Kaliňák also called Fico's condition "extremely serious." Kaliňák is one of Fico's deputies in the party and government.

According to information from the TV channel TA3, the perpetrator is said to be Juraj C., a former employee of a private security service. This was not officially confirmed at first.

Despite an information embargo, the broadcaster was able to obtain a video recording from the hospital. In it, the dazed-looking suspected attacker said: "I don't agree with government policy."

In a slurred voice, he cited the government's plan to shut down the public radio and television station RTVS, against which thousands of people have been demonstrating for weeks, as a concrete example.

Eštok, the interior minister, announced increased police protection for politicians and journalists. At the same time, he called on the media, politicians from all camps and the public to stop "inciting hatred against political opponents on social media."

President Zuzana Čaputová had already expressed similar sentiments.

Liberal opposition leader Michal Šimečka cancelled all planned political actions for an indefinite period on Wednesday evening. This also applies to a demonstration against the government in Bratislava planned for Wednesday evening, he told journalists in parliament.

A parliamentary session scheduled for Wednesday had already been postponed for an indefinite period.

Photo: EPA