Published: Mon, January 14, 2019

Gdansk mayor 'stabbed on stage' by attacker

Gdansk mayor 'stabbed on stage' by attacker

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

TVN24 reported that Pawel Adamowicz, 53, was attacked by a man while he was on stage during the finale on Sunday of a major charity event in the Baltic city.

The director of the hospital in Gdansk where the mayor was taken, Jakub Kraszewski, told reporters just before midnight local time (23:00 GMT) that surgery was underway.

According to Polish media, the suspect had been sentenced to more than five years in prison for four armed attacks on banks in Gdansk.

Broadcaster TVN said the mayor could be seen holding his belly after the attack.

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

"There is hope but his condition remains serious", Polish President Andrzej Duda said earlier on Twitter, adding that Adamowicz was alive but "gravely wounded".

The fundraising event was organised by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, Poland's most important charity.

Footage of a man on stage has emerged online, claiming to show him brandishing a knife.

The president of the European Council Donald Tusk tweeted a message of support, writing: 'We are with you'.

The head of the charity, Jerzy Owsiak, is a liberal critic of Poland's current right-wing government. The broadcaster apologized after the animation triggered an outcry.

He was part of the democratic opposition born in the city under the leadership of Lech Walesa during the 1980s which helped to bring down the Communist regime.

As mayor, he is seen as a progressive voice and has supported LGBT rights and tolerance for minorities. He marched in last year's gay pride parade, a rare action for a mayor in Poland. "A great leader of his city and a true humanitarian". The last attack on a politician in Poland was in 2010 in Lodz.

At the time Law and Justice was in the opposition and Kaczynski blamed the attack at an "atmosphere of hate" under the rival party, Civic Platform.

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