In Bratislava Thousands of young Slovaks rally against corruption

Thousands of young Slovaks protested Monday in the capital Bratislava and second city Kosice, calling for the dismissal of senior government officials for alleged foot-dragging on fighting corruption.

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Demonstrators hold up flags of Slovakia and EU during an anti-corruption rally in Bratislava on June 5, 2017 play

Demonstrators hold up flags of Slovakia and EU during an anti-corruption rally in Bratislava on June 5, 2017

(AFP)
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Thousands of young Slovaks protested Monday in the capital Bratislava and second city Kosice, calling for the dismissal of senior government officials for alleged foot-dragging on fighting corruption.

Around 5,000 demonstrators in central Bratislava demanded Interior Minister Robert Kalinak resign and chanted "Enough of Fico" in reference to Robert Fico, the EU member's leftist prime minister.

Protesters also called for the dismissal of police chief Tibor Gaspar and Dusan Kovacik, the special prosecutor for corruption cases.

"I hope that Slovakia will one day be a country that will not be affected by corruption and that people will not have to go abroad for work," student David Straka, one of the organisers, told the crowd.

"I have a feeling that they (the government) manipulate the whole country," 22-year old Sona Vaculciakova, a Bratislava medical student, told AFP. "Basically, our money ends up in their pockets."

Organised by a couple of high school students, the demonstration in Bratislava was the second of its kind since April.

A similar protest Monday evening in the eastern city of Kosice drew around 2,000 demonstrators, local press reported.

President Andrej Kiska, a centrist and vocal government critic, backed the demonstrations.

At an April meeting with protesting students Kiska was quoted as saying that "there is corruption in the highest places and it is sophisticated and difficult to untangle."

Government spokeswoman Beatrice Szabova told AFP Monday that Fico "welcomes the fact that young people are interested in social issues" but warned that the protests should not be "abused for political ends".

Transparency International recently ranked the eurozone nation of 5.4 million people as the seventh most corrupt EU member.

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