Pawel Adamowicz, mayor of Poland's Gdansk, dies of stab wounds suffered in attack at charity event

  • Anti-violence rallies are being planned nationwide after Sunday's shock attack on Mayor Pawel Adamowicz

  • Video footage showed the attacker, bursting on to the podium and launching himself at Adamowicz

  • After knifing the mayor several times, the man turned to the crowd with his arms raised triumphantly

Warsaw (Poland): The mayor of the Polish port city of Gdansk died on Monday, a day after a knife-wielding assailant stabbed him in the heart in front of hundreds of people at a charity event, local media reported.

"Despite all our efforts, we failed to save him," Doctor Tomasz Stefaniak, director of Gdansk's University hospital said, quoted by the Polish PAP news agency.

 Pawel Adamowicz, mayor of Polands Gdansk, dies of stab wounds suffered in attack at charity event

Mayor Pawel Adamowicz spoke to the audience shortly before he was stabbed in Gdansk, Poland, on Sunday. AP

Anti-violence rallies are being planned nationwide after Sunday's shock attack on Mayor Pawel Adamowicz.

The 53-year-old suffered a serious wound to the heart and cuts to his diaphragm and abdominal organs, according to surgeons who operated on him for five hours at Gdansk's university hospital.

Earlier, Jerzy Karpinski, a physician with the Gdansk regional health department, told the PAP news agency: "Mayor Adamowicz is on life support in a very critical condition, and the prognosis for his life and health is uncertain."

Video footage showed the attacker, who police said was wearing a press badge, bursting on to the podium and launching himself at Adamowicz, who had been waving sparklers with others on stage as the fundraiser was winding down on Sunday evening.

After knifing the mayor several times, the man turned to the crowd with his arms raised triumphantly, but was quickly tackled to the ground by security guards and arrested.

Atmosphere of aggression

Paramedics had resuscitated Adamowicz at the scene before rushing him to the hospital.

Gdansk residents flooded blood donation centres following news that Adamowicz had received 15 litres (32 pints) of blood and required more of the rare O Rh- type.

"There is an atmosphere of aggression in Poland," a blood donor who identified himself only as Zygmunt told AFP, reflecting on the broader context of the attack.

A local police spokesman said the detained man was a 27-year-old who lived in Gdansk, a Baltic coast city with a population of around half a million that was the cradle of Poland's anti-communist Solidarity movement in the 1980s.

In a video recording of the attack posted on YouTube, the suspect was seen seizing the microphone and claiming he had been wrongly jailed by the previous centrist government of the Civic Platform (PO) party and tortured. "That's why Adamowicz dies," he said.

One witness told broadcaster TVN that the man appeared "happy with what he had done".

'Solidarity' with mayor

Adamowicz has been mayor of Gdansk for two decades and the Opposition Civic Platform, the arch-rival of Poland's governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, had supported his re-election in 2018 municipal polls.

Since winning office in 2015, the PiS has systematically blamed PO politicians for an array of issues, ranging from VAT fraud to the 2010 crash of a Polish presidential jet in Russia that claimed the life of then president Lech Kaczynski, the identical twin brother of PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Sunday's fundraising event was part of a popular annual nationwide drive to purchase medical equipment for children and featured a colourful stage set-up including lights, smoke and pyrotechnics.

"Despite our political differences, I stand without question in solidarity with him and those close to him... I pray for his swift recovery," PiS-allied President Andrzej Duda said on Twitter.

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2019 20:14:43 IST