WARSAW – The popular mayor of a large Polish city died Monday after being stabbed during a public address, causing an uproar in a country torn by political tensions between the Conservative government and the opposition.
Pawel Adamowicz, a 53-year-old influential politician close to the opposition and mayor of the Baltic port city of Gdansk, was speaking on stage at a charity TV event attended by hundreds of people on Sunday night after being assaulted .
The 27-year-old assailant with a criminal record stabbed Mr. Adamowicz with a large knife and then grabbed the microphone to shout slogans against the opposition political party. Adamowicz was operated on urgently but died Monday afternoon, authorities said. The suspect was immediately arrested and is in custody.
During the murder of Mr. Adamowicz, the suspect shouted political slogans on stage Sunday after the stabbing.
stringer / Reuters
Attempts by the Polish conservative nationalist party Law and Justice to exercise greater political control over independent governmental institutions – in particular the country's Supreme Court… has a deeply divided society. The opposition Civic Platform, a centrist party of which Adamowicz was once a member, accused Law and Justice of plunging the country into an authoritarian regime. Law and Justice accuses the opposition of having scorned the ordinary Poles and to join the European elites.
Gdansk, an important European cultural and commercial center, stronghold of the civic platform, houses the icon of democracy, Lech Walesa, and Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister who now chairs the Council of the European Union, an executive body. It also served as a basis for the Solidarity trade union that precipitated the fall of communism in the 1980s.
This assassination is the first of a high-ranking Polish politician in office since the end of communism in 1989. The political differences have been reflected in the reactions to the murder of big killers and social media, some messages seem to support the murder of Mr. Adamowicz. who thwarted the extreme right with his campaigns for gay rights and refugees.
"Yesterday, in Gdansk, there was a political crime, the calculated and planned assassination of an elected politician," wrote Jaroslaw Kurski, editor of the left Gazeta Wyborcza in a compelling editorial. Boguslaw Charabota, editor-in-chief of center-right Rzeczpospolita, wrote: "Behind this brutal act of psychopath is Polish political psychosis".
The residents of Warsaw demonstrated Monday against violence and hatred as a result of a deadly attack against the mayor.
agencja gazeta / Reuters
Some commentators have compared the assassination to the murder of Jo Cox, a British liberal lawmaker who was stabbed to death and stabbed to death by a mentally unstable man inspired by extreme right-wing politics .
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the killing a tragedy for Poland. The President of the Law and Justice Party, Andrzej Duda, announced that he would meet on Monday with political leaders from all parties to organize a joint march against violence. But the opposition refused to walk with the ruling party and announced that she would hold her own vigils.
Corrections & Amplifications
Jo Cox was a British lawmaker who was shot and stabbed to death. An earlier version of this article was wrongly named Joe Cox (January 14).
Write to Bojan Pancevski to bojan.pancevski@Good Non profit