TASR (Slovak): NGOs Condemn Police Action Outside Presidential Palace

Bratislava, June 19 (TASR) - Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) condemn the intervention by Slovak police during protests outside Presidential Palace and demand that police ensure the protection of Slovak citizens and the rule of law, TASR was told on Friday.

Dozens of Slovak activists rallied Thursday outside Presidential Palace, where head of state Ivan Gasparovic was meeting his visiting Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. The protesters gathered in order to protest at human rights violations in China.

Police and medical emergency service had to step in as the activists - chief of the marginal Civic Conservative Party (OKS), Ondrej Dostal among them - clashed with Chinese supporters of Hu Jintao.
According to NGOs, the police officers intervened in an inappropriate manner against the activists, whose aim was to bring attention in a peaceful way to human rights violations in China.

The organisations added that supporters of the Chinese communist regime and law enforcement forces took complete control of what was going on at Hodza Square, while Slovak police acted only as onlookers of the violence perpetrated by the Chinese (pro-Government) forces.

Slovak police did not step in until multiple calls from the Slovak public participating in the protests were made, according to NGOs.

"We condemn the fact that in a free country like Slovakia, the police fail to defend its citizens and allow people of a country that is the biggest violator of human rights in the world to hamper a manifestation of their views in a peaceful manner," reads the statement.

"We demand that Slovak police apologise publicly to detained Slovak citizens who were stopped from demonstrating and followers of the Chinese regime, and that physical attacks against members of Falun Gong movement be investigated," said NGOs.

The protests are set to have a sequel on Friday outside Government Office, where Prime Minister Robert Fico will host Hu Jintao.

NGOs Man in Peril, Slovak Association of Falun Gong, Amnesty International and M.R. Stefanik's Conservative Institute have joined the initiative.

The Regional Police Corps Directorate in Bratislava told TASR on Thursday evening that the police action was justified and its aim was to restore public order. Nine people were detained, six Slovaks and three Chinese citizens, said the police.

Parliamentary Vice-chair Milan Hort and MP Martin Pado (both Opposition SDKU-DS party) on Thursday asked Parliamentary Chairman Pavol Paska to urge Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (both governing-coalition Smer-SD party) to attend a session of the House on Friday and explain the police intervention.

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