The Latest: Huge rallies in Slovakia after reporter’s death
PRAGUE (AP) — The Latest on the slaying of a journalist and his fiancee in Slovakia (all times local):
Tens of thousands of Slovaks are rallying in massive anti-government protests across the country to demand a thorough investigation of the slayings of an investigative reporter and his fiancee, and changes in government.
The protesters packed a central square in Bratislava and other rallies are taking place in dozens of other places in Slovakia as well as abroad, the biggest since the 1989 Velvet Revolution.
The organizers want foreign experts to join the local investigative team and the creation of “a new trustworthy government with no people who are suspected of corruption” or ties to organized crime.
Jan Kuciak’s last, unfinished story was about the activities of Italian mafia in Slovakia and their ties to people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose government is allegedly also linked to other corruption scandals.
Organizer Karolina Farska says: “Slovakia is shaken as it has not been for a long time.”
Slovakia’s top three politicians have failed to agree on a common declaration meant to calm the tense situation in the country following the slayings of an investigative journalist and his fiancee.
President Andrej Kiska and Prime Minister Robert Fico had each prepared a text for their Friday meeting with parliamentary speaker Andrej Danko.
After the meeting, Danko only said they were not able to agree on a common version.
The announcement comes amid growing tensions ahead of Friday’s anti-government rallies planned across Slovakia and abroad.
The protesters demand a thorough investigation into the shooting deaths of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova, whose bodies were found in their home on Feb. 25, and changes in the government.
In his last unfinished story, Kuciak, 27, reported on the influence of the Italian mafia in Slovakia and its possible ties to people close to Fico.
Fico suggested Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros might be involved in the protests. He says he’s got information the protests might turn violent.
Slovakia has quickly turned from what seemed to be a stable European Union country into chaos, in the wake of the unprecedented slayings of an investigative journalist and his fiancee.
In a speech last month, President Andrej Kiska talked about his country as “successful, proud and self-confident.” On March 4, however, he said Slovakia faces a “serious political crisis” triggered by the fatal shootings of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova. Police said Kuciak’s killing last month was likely linked to his work.
For his last unfinished story, the 27-year-old Kuciak reported on the influence of the Italian mafia in Slovakia and its possible ties to people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico. A growing number of people have started to turn against the Fico government, threatening its very existence.