Polish mayor seriously injured after being stabbed on stage at charity event

Pawel Adamowicz taken to hospital in critical condition after attack

Peter Stubley
Sunday 13 January 2019 23:49 GMT
Mayor of Gdansk stabbed on stage during charity event

The mayor of the city of Gdansk in Poland has been stabbed while on stage at a televised charity event.

Pawel Adamowicz, 53, was taken to hospital in a critical condition after being attacked at around 8pm local time (7pm GMT) on Sunday.

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 added: “Today I am unconditionally with him and his loved ones, just as — I hope — all of us compatriots are,” said Mr Duda. “I pray for his return to health and full strength.”

The stabbing was described as “act of inexplicable barbarity” by interior minister Joachim Brudzinski, who confirmed a suspect had been arrested.

Polish media reported that the attacker shouted from the stage that he had been wrongly imprisoned under the previous government, which was led by the mayor’s former party Civic Platform.

European Council president Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who co-founded Civil Platform and is from Gdansk, responded to the news by writing on Twitter: “Let’s all pray for Mayor Adamowicz. Pawel, we are with you.”

Mr Adamowicz has been mayor of Gdansk, a Baltic port city, since 1998. He was part of the democratic opposition born in that city under the leadership of Lech Walesa during the 1980s.

While in office he has supported LGBT+ rights and tolerance for minorities and condemned vandalism of the city’s synagogue.

Poland's mayor of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz speaks on stage moments before stabbing

The fundraising event in Gdansk, known as the Grand Finale, was organised by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity to collect money for healthcare.

It is believed the stabbing took place as crowds gathered in Gdansk for the traditional “Lights to the Sky” fireworks display.

A man is held on the ground by security staff after the attack on the mayor of Gdansk during a charity event
A man is held on the ground by security staff after the attack on the mayor of Gdansk during a charity event (AFP/Getty Images)

Police said there was no evidence to suggest the attack was linked to the charity event itself.

The head of the charity, Jerzy Oswiak, blamed what he described as an atmosphere of hate under the ruling Law and Justice party for the attack on the mayor.

He later issued a statement calling for Poles to stay united. ”We must not create a divide or split this country in two,” he said.

“No one has the right to say that there are two countries where there is one Poland. Poland is just like we are here today – good, wonderful, amazing.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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