Pol­ish mayor stabbed on stage

Whanganui Chronicle - - 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, leav­ing the politi­cian in very se­ri­ous con­di­tion in an at­tack that 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 to­wards him. Adamow­icz had been on the streets of his city col­lect­ing money for the char­ity, with vol­un­teers around the 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”.

Adamow­icz, 53, has been mayor of the Baltic port city since 1998. He was part of the demo­cratic op­po­si­tion un­der the lead­er­ship of Lech Walesa dur­ing the 1980s. After leav­ing Civic Plat­form, he was re-elected to a sixth term as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date.

As mayor, he has been a pro­gres­sive voice, sup­port­ing LGBT rights and tol­er­ance for mi­nori­ties. He marched in last year’s gay pride pa­rade. He also showed sol­i­dar­ity with the Jewish com­mu­nity when the city’s syn­a­gogue had its win­dows bro­ken last year.

Pho­tos / AP

Above: A man holds a sharp ob­ject just after stab­bing Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamow­icz. Adamow­icz was taken to hos­pi­tal in very se­ri­ous con­di­tion. Left: Pawel Adamow­icz speaks to an au­di­ence shortly be­fore he was stabbed in Gdansk, Poland.

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