Gdansk mayor stabbed during charity event in Poland

After five hours of surgery for injuries to his heart and abdomen, Pawel Adamowicz remains in a serious condition

Photo: EPA Pawel Adamowicz

Pawel Adamowicz, mayor of Gdansk, is reportedly in a serious condition in hospital after he was stabbed on stage at a charity fundraiser on Sunday. He was attacked in front of hundreds of people in the city during an event in aid of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, country’s most important charity.

As TVN footage showed Adamowicz was on stage with a sparkler in hand telling the audience that it had been a “wonderful day” when the attacker came toward him. The mayor then grabbed his stomach and collapsed in front of the audience. According to a statement by the doctors treating the politician, he underwent five hours of surgery for wounds to his heart and abdomen and even though he is alive, he is still in "a very serious condition."

“The next hours will decide everything,” Dr Tomasz Stefaniak, one of the surgeons, said early on Monday, adding that the mayor suffered a “serious wound to the heart, a wound to the diaphragm and to the internal organs” and had needed a huge amount of blood.

Police said the suspect was a 27-year-old with a criminal record. He was arrested as he seized the microphone and shouted from the stage that he had been wrongly imprisoned under a previous national government led by Civic Platform, a party to which the mayor formerly belonged. He also said his name was Stefan and that he was "jailed but innocent… Civic Platform tortured me. That’s why Adamowicz just died.”

Later on, police spokesman, Mariusz Ciarka, said the attacker appeared to have mental health problems and gained access to the area with a media badge.

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

“Horrified by the brutal attack on Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz,” said Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission. “Hope and pray he will recover. A great leader of his city and a true humanitarian.”

Adamowicz, 53, has been Gdansk's mayor for more than 20 years and is part of the democratic opposition which started in the city under Lech Walsea in the 1980s. After leaving Civic Platform, he was re-elected to a sixth term as an independent candidate in the autumn. He has been seen as a progressive voice in the country, supporting LGBT rights and tolerance for minority groups.

Similar articles