The mayor of the northern Polish city of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, was stabbed on Sunday evening in a seeming assassination attempt in front of thousands of people during a charity concert. Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz grabbed his belly and fell down after being stabbed in the abdomen many times in front of the audience. The attack occurred during the “Lights to Heaven” fundraiser organized by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, Poland’s most significant charity.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said he was informed that “doctors accomplished in reanimating the heart of the gravely injured Mayor Pawel Adamowicz and there is hope, but his condition is very critical”. He called for people to pray for the Mayor. Paramedics revived Adamowicz at the scene before rushing him to hospital where doctors said early Monday he had lasted a five-hour operation but was in a “very, very critical condition”. The country’s central minister, Joachim Brudzinski called the stabbing “an act of inexplicable barbarity.” YouTube video seems to show the moment the terrifying attack took place.
People can be seen waving what look to be firecrackers on stage as people in the crowd cheer. A man then climbs on stage and appears to attack Mr Adamowicz. He remains walking on stage with his hands in the air, as music remains to play. Polish broadcaster TVN said the attacker shouted from the stage that he had been incorrectly imprisoned under a previous national government led by Civic Platform, a party to which the mayor previously belonged. The suspected attacker was arrested.
According to police sources quoted by Polish news broadcaster TVN24, the attacker is understood to have been scheduling the attack for some time. The fact that the attacker was able not only to get access to the stage and to attack the mayor but also to address the crowd in the aftermath has raised serious questions about security, which was provided by a private firm. Police said the assailant was a 27-year-old with a criminal record and had carried out some bank robberies.
Adamowicz was an influential liberal voice in a country that has been governed by the rightwing Law and Justice Party since 2015. He is best known in Poland and globally as a staunch supporter of LGBT rights and the rights of immigrants and refugees during a period of rising anti-migrant sentiment.
“I am a European so my nature is to be open,” Adamowicz told the Guardian in 2016. “Gdańsk is a port and must always be a refuge from the sea.”