Poland’s liberal mayor of Gdansk dies after stabbing
The long-serving mayor, known for his defence of migrants, succumbed to his wounds after being attacked on stage by a screaming man
Warsaw — Pawel Adamowicz, the liberal mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk, died on Monday of his wounds a day after being stabbed on stage at a charity event.
“We couldn’t win,” Poland’s health minister Lukasz Szumowski told reporters via private broadcaster TVN.
Adamowicz was attacked while attending the annual Great Orchestra of Christmas charity, a fundraiser where volunteers collect money for medical equipment in hospitals.
Television footage showed a man screaming “Adamowicz is dead!” as he rushed the stage and stabbed the mayor. Speaking on the stage before he was arrested, the man accused the mayor’s former party of putting him in prison and said he was tortured.
Doctors operated on Adamowicz for five hours after the incident, Poland’s state news agency PAP said.
Politicians across the political spectrum in Poland condemned the stabbing, including members of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS), such as Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and interior minister Joachim Brudzinski. Adamowicz was known as an opponent of PiS.
“I’m expressing great pain for the tragic death due to the criminal attack on mayor Pawel Adamowicz. We express solidarity with his family,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the country’s ruling party leader was quoted as saying in a tweet from the party spokesperson.
Polish President Andrzej Duda will meet with political party leaders on Monday to organise a march against violence and hatred in the wake of the attack.
Adamowicz stood out for his initiatives to encourage migrants to seek refuge in the northern Polish city, and for his support of a protest campaign defending the rule of law in Poland against PiS efforts to increase its control over the judiciary and other bodies.
Adamowicz was one of Poland’s longest-serving mayors, holding his position in Gdansk since 1998. In the 2018 regional election, he won 65% of votes.