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Tusk blames ruling party’s narrative for 2019 murder of Gdańsk mayor

According to Tusk, "stigmatising, calling someone a stranger, labelling someone as an enemy because they have a different skin colour, are of a different nationality, a different race, different religion, sooner or later brings exactly such consequences."
Jan Dzban/PAP

Donald Tusk, leader of Poland’s main opposition party, the centrist Civic Platform (PO), has said that the ruling party’s rhetoric is to be blamed for the 2019 killing of Paweł Adamowicz, the liberal mayor of the Polish city of Gdańsk.

Adamowicz died on January 14, 2019, of his wounds, a day after being stabbed by a man who rushed onto the stage during a public charity event in Gdansk.

On Friday, the fourth anniversary of the tragedy, Tusk told a meeting with young people in the Old Town Hall in Gdańsk that Adamowicz’s death “is not some gloomy incident, it is not some individual act.”

“Paweł Adamowicz was murdered, here in Gdańsk, because for many weeks and months, not only anonymous haters somewhere in the network, but the huge state machine of (the ruling Law and Justice – PAP) PiS tried to convince people every day and week that Paweł Adamowicz was the embodiment of evil,” he argued.

“Someone once noticed that Nazism did not start with the gas chambers, it was the most ghastly finale, but it started with the wrong word,” Tusk said.

“Anyone who knows a bit about the history of the Russian-Ukrainian war and Russia’s attack on Ukraine knows how many words in the Russian public media, full of contempt, degrading words of hatred, were spoken before this war started,” he continued.

“In fact, these bad words, this hatred that pours out of the government media and from the mouths of prime ministers, ministers, PiS party leaders and PiS allies leave a trace in each of us,” Tusk warned.

According to him, “stigmatising, calling someone a stranger, labelling someone as an enemy because they have a different skin colour, are of a different nationality, a different race, different religion, sooner or later brings exactly such consequences.”

Tusk added that he believes that Adamowicz’s death “would in a way have some tragic sense, if it were a warning… a day of sobering up for the authorities… because they and many of our compatriots need such a sobering up.”

A former convict, known only as Stefan W. owing to reporting restrictions, was arrested at the scene of the attack, and has been charged with murder.

He apparently held Civic Platform, the party Adamowicz belonged to, responsible for a prison sentence he received for robbery.

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