Hundreds of supporters of Slovakia's Second World War Head of Stat gathered to celebrate the 68th anniversary of its founding at the grave of its president, the priest Jozef Tiso, in Bratislava on March 14.
The crowd sang nationalist songs and listened to nationalist speeches, all under the gaze of plainclothes policemen. They began arriving at the Martinský cemetery in Bratislava at around 11:00, and were frisked by uniformed policemen. Most wore black or camouflage gear with hoods over their heads.
Some stopped by the grave of Vojtech Tuka, the prime minister of the wartime state, to light candles in holders bearing the emblem of the Slovenská Pospolitos (Slovak Togetherness) civic organization.
Tiso's grave, on the other hand, was surrounded by older people and Slovenská Pospolitos members. There they heard a speech from the new leader of Slovenská Pospolitos, Ivan Sýkora, who called Tiso's execution after the war at the hands of the allies "the shameful murder of a national hero, whose name many dirty today".
Sýkora called on those of his listeners who has pro-Slovak feelings to unite, let the world know about them, and not to fear the consequences. "I'm either for the nation or against the nation," Sýkora said. The assembly then heard a speech from Stanislav Pánis, the head of the Slovak National Unity (SNJ) party.
Pánis called on his young listeners to "fight against those casting shame on our history and our nation". He also criticized the dozen journalists monitoring the gathering, calling them "uneducated" and saying they "write about things they absolutely don't understand," to applause from his listeners.
Among those present was MP Jozef Rydlo, a member of the Slovak National Party (SNS). "Why shouldn't I be here? It's not my shame, but the shame of those who don't know how to honor a memorial day for Slovakia," Rydlo said. The MP added that the founding of the first Slovak Republic on March 14, 1939 was the most important moment for the Slovak nation in the 20th century. "For the first time, Slovakia got its own state. Without the first Slovak Republic there would have been no first Slovak Socialist Republic [1948-1989], or any second Slovak Republic," Rydlo said.