Pawel Adamowicz, Gdansk mayor, stabbed at Poland charity event

Pawel Adamowicz, Gdansk mayor, stabbed at Poland charity event

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EPA

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The mayor was stabbed while on stage at a major charity event

The mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk has been seriously injured after being stabbed on stage at the country’s biggest charity event, officials say.

Pawel Adamowicz, 53, was taken to hospital, where he is in a critical condition after five hours of surgery.

The 27-year-old suspect, who has a criminal record, has been detained.

He said the Civic Platform party, which led the previous government and had supported Mr Adamowicz’s re-election, had wrongfully imprisoned him.

Mr Adamowicz suffered very serious abdominal injuries during the attack, said Tomasz Stefaniak, director of health at the University Clinical Centre in Gdansk, early on Monday.

During a five-hour operation, the mayor was given 41 units of blood.

“He remains in a very, very serious condition, ” said Dr Stefaniak. “The coming hours will be decisive.”

What do we know about the attack?

The incident took place at the finale of the annual Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity event, which was attended by hundreds of people.

Television footage showed the suspect, who was released from prison recently, shouting “Adamowicz is dead” and claiming he had been tortured in prison.

Polish media initially reported he had access to the stage using a media badge but this has not been officially confirmed.

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Reuters

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Mayor Adamowicz speaking at the event before the attack

Polish President Andrzej Duda said he was informed that “doctors succeeded in reanimating the heart of the seriously injured mayor”.

“There is hope but his condition is very difficult,” he said on Twitter, calling on people to pray for Mr Adamowicz.

Who is Pawel Adamowicz?

Mr Adamowicz is a native of Gdansk, and has been its mayor for 20 years.

A graduate of Gdansk university’s law school, he is married to a professor there, and the pair have two daughters – one a teenager and one under 10.

His self-written online biography says he helped to organise student strikes in 1988 – a year of mass nationwide strikes against the communist government. Poland would declare a new democratic republic a year later.

In 1990, he became a city councillor for Gdansk, rising to mayor of the city in 1998. He has held the office ever since. His most recent victory was in November, granting him a sixth term which is due to run until 2023.

What has the reaction been?

The stabbing, during an event that raises money for children’s hospitals, has shocked Poland, the BBC’s Adam Easton in Warsaw reports.

Moments before the attack, Mr Adamowicz posted a picture on Instagram from the stage of the event, where dozens of people were holding white lights.

The popular mayor, a former member of Civic Platform, is seen as a liberal voice and has supported rights for minorities.

Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski said the attack was “an act of inexplicable barbarism”.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Twitter: “The attack on the life and health of Paul Adamowicz is worthy of the highest condemnation.”

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EPA

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People gather in front of the hospital where the mayor is being treated

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