The mayor of the Polish port city of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, 53, died on Monday, has died after being severely wounded on Sunday evening at a public event, according to the Polish press agency PAP. He had been operated extensively over night, before succumbing to his injuries. “Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdańsk, a man of Solidarity and freedom, a European, my good friend, has been murdered. May he rest in peace,” Donald Tusk, president of the European Council and former Polish Prime Minister, who was born in Gdansk, wrote on Twitter.
The much-loved mayor of Gdansk was stabbed several times shortly before 8 pm on Sunday, in front of hundreds of people, on a stage during a national charity event to raise funds for an organisation financing the purchase of equipment for hospitals.
The attacker, a 27-year-old resident of the city, was quickly arrested by the security guards and taken away by the police, without resisting, According to Polish media the man has served more than five years in prison for four armed robberies of banks in Gdansk. Reports suggest that his mental health had deteriorated while in prison.
A video recording of the attack, posted on YouTube, shows the man burst onto the stage. After attacking the mayor with a large knife, he gesticulates triumphantly while waving his weapon, then seizes the microphone to claim to claim that he was tortured while in prison and blamed the Civic platform, the main opposition party and supporter of Adamowicz’s candidacy to the municipal elections last autumn. “That’s why Adamowicz dies,” he added.
The murder has caused a shock in Poland, a country that has experienced few political assassinations since the fall of communism thirty years ago
The investigation initiated by the police will likely focus on how the attacker acquired a “media” badge that gained him access to the stage, and whether the event’s security had been properly organised.
Shortly after the attack, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and almost all Polish political leaders, both in power and in opposition, as well as several senior European leaders expressed their condolences and solidarity with Mr Adamowicz’s family.