Socialist Worker

Anti-fascists mobilise in Bratislava to stop Nazis marching

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans in Bratislava
Issue No. 2395

Bratislava without Nazis rally in Slovak National Uprising square

Bratislava without Nazis rally in Slovak National Uprising square (Pic: Tomáš Tengely-Evans)


Up to 300 marched against fascism in the Slovakian capital Bratislava last Saturday. The protest was on the 75th anniversary weekend of the fascist ‘Slovak State’. The march was organised by Bratislava without Nazis, as part of a weekend of activity between 13 and 15 March.

Marchers rallied in Slovak national uprising square, before marching to the Holocaust memorial. Organiser Robert Mihaly addressed the rally, ‘‘By declaring that all squares and streets would belong to the antifascists half a year in advance … we prevented the fascists from marching’’.

Milan Ftánik, Bratislava’s social democrat mayor warned that ‘‘If we’re quiet, then these ideas will spread and our society will change. Our position is unequivocally anti-fascist.’’ Throughout weekend the mayor hung an antifascist flag from the City Hall

Other speakers included Czech activists from anti-racist organisation ‘Blokujeme’, and a partisan veteran who fought in the 1944 Slovak national uprising.  

Reactionary

The Slovak State was set up on 14 March 1939 as a Nazi puppet regime led by reactionary priest Joseph Tiso – it deported tens of thousands of Jews and Roma. Nazis hold celebrations every year to mark its founding.

But last year the Nazis were challenged for the first time, when less than 100 antifascists blocked them from marching on their planned route through Slovak national uprising square. This year the Nazis have moved their march back to 29 March.

Slovak fascists had a major breakthrough last November. Marian Kotleba, leader of the Eurofascist Our Slovakia party, was elected governor of Banska Bystrica region with 55.5%. He beat the Social-democrat incumbent in the run-off.

His campaign was directed against the Roma community and other ‘‘asocials’’.

The major mobilizing force for Slovak Nazis is anti-Roma racism, but attacks are also aimed at the LGBT community and a woman’s right to choose. It’s an important victory for Slovak anti-fascists that the Nazis didn’t march this year. 

But their social base and the anti-Roma institutional racism and segregation walls remain.


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