Government, Health - Mayor Stabbed During Charity Concert
Blood donation centers in Gdansk, Poland will open early on Monday for people to come in and donate in solidarity with Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, who is in a very serious condition after being stabbed at a charity event.
"The situation can be assessed as very serious, but we all hope that (Mayor Adamowicz) will recover and will be able to speak with us soon," said Jerzy Karpinski of the Gdansk Health Department to local media, "I would like to reassure that he is under careful care."
The popular Left-leaning Mayor of the northern port city was speaking at a fund-raiser organized by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, when a man with a pilfered press pass rushed Mr. Adamowicz and stabbed him in the mid section. Radio Gdansk reported the weapon pierced the mayor's aorta and he required 41 units of blood during emergency surgery at Medical University of Gdansk - that's more than five gallons of blood.
The attacker shouted, "My name is Stefan," and claimed that he had been tortured in prison because of Adamowicz's former political party, the centrist Civic Platform. Authorities didn't fully identify him, but said he had a history of crime and mental health problems.
Pawel Adamowicz has been the mayor of Gdansk for more than 20 years. He left Civic Platform and ran as an independent in his most recent re-election. Adamowicz is a supporter of LGBT rights and advocates tolerance for minorities, and last year made a point of strongly supporting the city's Jewish community after a spate of anti-Semitic vandalism. His political longevity highlights the political chasm in Poland, where there cities are generally educated and socially liberal to Leftist, while the countryside remains conservative and vote to put the ruling far-right PiS party into power.
Polish President Andrzej Duda for some reason chose to point out that he and the mayor have political differences - but, "today I am unconditionally with him and his loved ones, just as - I hope - all of us compatriots are. I pray for his return to health and full strength".
European Council President Donald Tusk - a former Polish PM, Civil Platform co-founder, and Gdansk native - wrote on Twitter: "Let's all pray for Mayor Adamowicz. Pawel, we are with you."
And London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the attack and expressed solidarity "with the city he leads, his family and supporters".