Mayor stabbed in stom­ach dur­ing char­ity event fi­nale on stage

The Timaru Herald - - WORLD -

A man with a knife rushed on to the stage dur­ing the fi­nale of a char­ity event and stabbed a Pol­ish mayor in the ab­domen Sun­day, leav­ing the politi­cian in very se­ri­ous con­di­tion in an at­tack that Pol­ish me­dia said had a po­lit­i­cal el­e­ment.

Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamow­icz grabbed his belly and col­lapsed on stage dur­ing the ‘‘Lights to Heaven’’ fundraiser or­gan­ised by the Great Orches­tra of Christ­mas Char­ity, Poland’s most im­por­tant char­ity.

Pol­ish Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda said he was in­formed that ‘‘doc­tors suc­ceeded in re­an­i­mat­ing the heart of the se­ri­ously in­jured Mayor Pawel Adamow­icz and there is hope, but his con­di­tion is very dif­fi­cult.’’ He called for peo­ple to pray for the mayor.

Pol­ish broad­caster TVN said the as­sailant shouted from the stage that he had been wrongly im­pris­oned un­der a pre­vi­ous na­tional gov­ern­ment led by Civic Plat­form, a party to which the mayor for­merly be­longed. The sus­pected at­tacker was ar­rested.

TVN broad­cast footage of the per­pe­tra­tor, just af­ter the at­tack yelling that his name was Ste­fan and that ‘‘I was jailed but in­no­cent . ... Civic Plat­form tor­tured me.’’

Po­lice said the sus­pect was a 27-year-old with a crim­i­nal record and had car­ried out bank rob­beries. A po­lice spokesman, Mar­iusz Ciarka, said the at­tacker gained ac­cess to the area with a me­dia badge.

Ra­dio Gdansk said Adamow­icz was stabbed in the area of his heart, but did not cite its source, while Rzecz­pospolita de­scribed the mayor’s con­di­tion as ‘‘crit­i­cal,’’ cit­ing uniden­ti­fied sources. A spokesman for the hos­pi­tal called his con­di­tion ‘‘very se­ri­ous.’’

TVN footage showed Adamow­icz on stage just be­fore the at­tack with a sparkler in hand telling the au­di­ence that it had been a ‘‘won­der­ful day’’ and then the at­tacker com­ing to­ward him. Adamow­icz had been on the streets of his city yes­ter­day col­lect­ing money for the char­ity, along with vol­un­teers coun­try.

Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk, a for­mer Pol­ish prime min­is­ter who co-founded Civil Plat­form and is from Gdansk, wrote on Twit­ter: ‘‘Let’s all pray for Mayor Adamow­icz. Pawel, we are with you.’’

The head of the char­ity, Jerzy Owsiak, is a lib­eral critic of Poland’s cur­rent right-wing gov­ern­ment. He blamed what he de­scribed as an at­mo­sphere of hate un­der the rul­ing Law and Jus­tice party for the at­tack on the mayor. Owsiak re­ferred to be­ing per­son­ally de­picted in a defam­a­tory man­ner in an an­i­ma­tion that ran on state TV last week and that also had anti-Semitic over­tones.

–AP around the

AP

A man bran­dishes a knife mo­ments af­ter stab­bing Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamow­icz in the ab­domen.

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