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Monday Apr 16 2018

Slovaks rally demanding police chief ouster

Some 35,000 protesters demand the resignation of the Slovak police chief Tibor Gaspar during a protest 'For Decent Slovakia' at the Slovak National Uprising square in Bratislava, Slovakia, April 15, 2018. AFP/Vladimir Simicek

BRATISLAVA: Tens of thousands of Slovaks rallied on Sunday demanding the national police chief resign over concerns that political connections prevent a fair investigation into the murder of a journalist probing corruption.

Around 30,000 protesters turned out in the capital Bratislava, according to protest organisers, calling for the police chief Tibor Gaspar to go.

Interior Minister Tomas Drucker was expected to announce during the coming week whether he will remove Gaspar.

Protesters also touted banners calling for early elections and "Enough of Smer!", referring to the governing social democrats.

The EU member state of 5.4 million was plunged into crisis after the February murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, who had been probing alleged ties between top politicians and the Italian mafia.

The murder and Kuciak's article, published after he and his fiancee were found shot dead, sparked a wave of protests that forced the government to resign.

The new government appointed last month retains most of the same people from the previous administration of Robert Fico, a social democrat with a strong populist streak who has vocally opposed migrants.

Analysts believe Fico will continue to call the shots from behind the scenes as he remains chairman of the governing Smer-SD party.

Police said that Kuciak's death was "most likely" related to his investigation of ties between politicians and the Italian mafia.


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