Gravely wounded mayor brought back to life on stage
WARSAW: A knife-wielding assailant stabbed the Mayor of the Polish port city of Gdansk in front of hundreds of people at a charity event, leaving the politician fighting for his life.
The attacker burst on to the podium and launched himself at Pawel Adamowicz, 53, who had been waving sparklers on stage along with others at the Sunday evening fundraiser.
After knifing the mayor several times, the man turned to the crowd with his arms raised triumphantly but was quickly appre- hended by security guards and arrested. Paramedics resuscitated Mr Adamowicz at the scene before rushing him to hospital where he had surgery.
“There is hope but his condition remains serious,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda, adding that Mr Adamowicz was alive but “gravely wounded”.
A Gdansk police spokesman said the detained man was a 27year-old who lived in the city.
In a video recording of the attack posted on YouTube, the suspect was seen seizing the microphone and claiming he had been wrongly jailed by the previous centrist government of the Civic Platform (PO) and tortured.
“That’s why Adamowicz dies,” he said before being knocked down to the ground by security.
One witness told broadcaster TVN the man appeared “happy with what he had done”.
Mr Adamowicz has been Mayor of Gdansk, whose population numbers about 500,000, for two decades and the Civic Platform had supported his re-election in 2018 municipal elections.
Sunday’s event was part of a national drive to raise funds to buy medical equipment and featured a colourful stage including lights, smoke and pyrotechnics.
According to Polish media, the suspect had been sentenced to more than five years in prison for four armed attacks on banks in Gdansk. His mental state had severely deteriorated during his time in jail, reports said.
Police were investigating how the attacker had been able to breach security to reach the podium, Gdansk police spokes- woman Joanna Kowalik-Kosinska said. “We know he used an identifier with the inscription ‘Press’,” she said. “Now we have to establish how it was obtained, was the accreditation in his name and was he really entitled to be there at that time?”
The director of the hospital in Gdansk where the mayor was taken, Jakub Kraszewski, said just before midnight that surgery was under way. “He is in a critical condition ... we are battling to save him,” the director said.
Paramedics work on the mayor after he was stabbed