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Slovakia: “For Decent and Safe Life” Rally Stirs Controversy

Back in September, about 3,000 people rallied “for the rights of decent people” in the town of Partizanske. This month, on October 13, a few hundred people gathered for a similar rally – “Together for a Decent and Safe Life” – in Slovakia's capital of Bratislava (video).

The Bratislava protest was co-organized by Oskar Dobrovodský [Twitter; Facebook - sk] from the town of Malacky, a person well-known in Slovakia because of his troubles with the “maladjusted” Roma neighbors (photos and video [sk] – here and here; news reports [en] – here, here, here and here).

Supporters of the Slovak Brotherhood, a far-right extremist group, also attended the rally.

Some 40 human rights activists, including MEP Monika Flašíková–Beňová, attempted to block the march by forming a human chain, but the police eventually got these counter-protesters out of the way and allowed the march to proceed (photos, video [sk] – here).

Ondrej Putra wrote [sk] that he wanted to support Dobrovodský and decided to attend the Oct. 13 rally, partly because his family had been in a situation similar to Dobrovodský's. However, when he arrived, a small group of neo-Nazi men started pointing at him, possibly because they recognized him from this year's gay pride in Bratislava. Later, Putra realized that about half of the attendees of the march appeared to be neo-Nazi – and he decided to leave. He wrote:

[...] Oskar [Dobrovodský], I'm sorry, [...] even though I understand your fatal situation, I do not understand why you did not make sure that there wasn't a mob there marching with [their] party flags. [...]

Tomáš Bosák commented [sk] on the news reports and the words of MEP Flašíková–Beňová, who labeled all of the protesters “fascists”:

[...] This is a problem of the whole Slovakia, not only of Oscar Dobrovodský in Malacky. Many people suffer in their neighborhoods because of asocials who just [live off the state] and are not willing to lift a finger. And this applies to all asocials, not just Roma, in many cases they are also non-Roma. This is why the protest's title refers to the asocials, not the Roma.

[...] It is the people who are experiencing situations like the one in Malacky who have the right to speak out and protest. Not politicians who are sitting in Brussels, away from their country and its problems. [...]

Michal Sedláček addressed [sk] MEP Flašíková–Beňová in a more straightforward manner:

[...] Yes, the shaved skulls abounded. But I also saw a lot of ordinary people [...]. They have had enough of [Slovakia's selective justice]. The rich or the asocials apparently do not have to worry.

Yelling at Dobrovodský that he is a disgrace to the decent people is not just funny but stupid. I would like to propose one thing to [MEP Flašíková–Beňová]. I heard that you have a pretty decent income. How about buying Dobrovodský's house from him? How about you settling there? I believe that your system of “love and peace” will surely bring abundant results. [...]

Peter Černák disagreed [sk] with one newspaper's comments about Dobrovodský:

[...] The problem is not Oskar Dobrovodský, it's just he who has a problem. The problem is the inaction of the state authorities and the refusal of the state to fulfill its most basic functions. What is the significance of the state that does not know or even does not want to protect its citizens?

CynickaObluda.com mocked [sk] the lack of an adequate reaction from the state:

PM Robert Fico: “The living situation of citizen Dobrovodský requires a radical solution and the use of all the reserves. An extra portion of sympathy and deep understanding will be dispatched to him immediately from the Prime Minister's special fund.” (Image by CynickaObluda.com, used with permission.)

Meanwhile, a follow-up rally “for decent and safe life” is being planned [sk] for November 10 in Bratislava.

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