Slovak protests ratchet up pressure on PM


Demonstrators attend a protest in reaction to the murder of Slovak investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova, in Bratislava on Friday.

Reuters BRATISLAVA (Reuters) — Tens of thousands of Slovaks rallied on Friday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government following the murder of a journalist that has shocked the central European nation and stoked anger over sleaze in public life.

Investigative reporter Jan Kuciak, who was shot dead at home with his fiancee last month, had covered fraud cases involving politically connected businessmen. His last unfinished story looked at Italian businessmen with suspected mafia links operating in Slovakia.

One of the businessmen, who denies having ties to the Italian mafia, had dealings in the past with two people who went on to work in Fico’s office. They have both resigned but deny any connection with the murder.

Nobody has been charged with the murders.

Kuciak’s journalism and then his murder have rekindled public frustration with the government’s failure to tackle graft and cronyism in Slovakia nearly three decades after the fall of communism and 14 years after it joined the European Union.

Fico has led the country of 5.4 million for 10 of the last 12 years and the economy has flourished, but the protesters in the capital Bratislava on Friday — estimated at up to 50,000 by the public broadcaster — chanted “Enough of Fico” and jangled keys just as they did in 1989 anti-communist rallies.Speech

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