May 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Robert Fico: A suspect accused of attempting to kill the Slovak Prime Minister

Robert Fico: A suspect accused of attempting to kill the Slovak Prime Minister
Video explanation, At the scene of the shooting of the Slovak Prime Minister

  • author, Emily Atkinson
  • Role, BBC News

A man has been charged with trying to kill Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico after he was seriously injured in a shooting attack.

The name of the alleged assailant has not been officially revealed, but Slovak reports widely identified him as a 71-year-old from the town of Lévce.

Reports say he could face life imprisonment.

Fico, 59, is in serious but stable condition after being shot several times in what his colleagues described as a politically motivated attack.

Interior Minister Matos Sutaj Stock said in a press conference on Thursday that the suspect acted alone and had previously participated in anti-government protests.

He added, “This is a lone wolf whose actions accelerated after the presidential elections because he was not satisfied with the results.”

He shot him five times at close range

In broad daylight on Wednesday, Mr. Fico, surrounded by a crowd of his supporters, was shot at close range.

A gunman opened fire five times, hitting the prime minister in the stomach and arm.

The attack took Mr. Fico’s security detail completely by surprise. The footage showed a number of officers gathering the wounded prime minister into a car, before driving away at high speed, while the others arrested the suspect.

Mr Fico was taken to a nearby hospital in an air ambulance, where his injuries were described as life-threatening.

He was then transferred to another facility in Banska Bystrica, east of Handelova, where surgeons and trauma teams worked through the night to stabilize his condition.

On Thursday, the hospital director said in a press conference that Fico’s condition was stable, but “really very serious,” and he was transferred to the intensive care unit.

Pellegrini later said he visited Fico, who was able to speak a few sentences.

“The situation is very critical and we have to give it a lot of energy and be positive,” Pellegrini said.

Video explanation, The Slovak Prime Minister is shot in an apparent assassination attempt

Local media reports described it suspect As a writer and political activist.

A video widely circulated in Slovak media allegedly shows him.

The man says in the footage that he does not agree with government policy and its attitude towards state media. The BBC was unable to verify whether the person in the video was the perpetrator who was arrested at the scene, nor the circumstances in which the video was filmed.

Politically motivated attack

Many Slovak politicians described the shooting as an “attack on democracy.”

On Thursday, outgoing Slovak President Zuzana Caputova called for calm and invited all party leaders to a meeting to discuss the political tension.

On the other hand, Slovak President-elect Peter Pellegrini called on all parties to suspend election campaigns before the European Parliament elections scheduled for early June.

Fico is considered a divisive figure at home due to his calls to end military aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia.

Comment on the photo, Mr Fico was visiting the town of Handelova when he was attacked

The shooting came on the day Parliament began discussing the government’s proposal to abolish the Slovak public broadcaster RTVS.

Thousands of Slovaks have protested against the proposed reform of the public broadcaster in recent weeks. However, a planned opposition-led demonstration was canceled on Wednesday as reports of the shooting emerged.

In his interview with the BBC, Deputy Prime Minister Taraba blamed the shooting on “false narratives” spread by opposition parties in Slovakia.

“Our prime minister has mentioned several times in the past that he fears this will happen,” Taraba said in another interview with BBC’s World Tonight programme.

Interior Minister Stock accused the media of contributing to the climate that led to the shooting of the 59-year-old, and told a press conference: “Many of you are the ones who sow this hatred.”

“The current ruling coalition is targeting the heads of journalists, members of NGOs, etc.,” Pavol Strba, foreign affairs correspondent for the Slovak newspaper Denik N, told BBC News.

“I have some information that police are patrolling some newsrooms in Slovakia at the moment,” he said.

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