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Slovakia: Meciar Supporters Plan Demonstration

Bratislava, 21 April 2000 (RFE/RL) - Supporters of former Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar plan to demonstrate in the center of Bratislava today against his arrest on charges of fraud and abuse of power. The demonstration is scheduled to take place outside the offices of the Slovak government at 11 pm (CET). Meciar was released from custody last night after being formally charged with making illegal payments to his cabinet ministers while in office during the 1990s. Police also wanted to question Meciar in connection with their investigation into the 1995 kidnapping of the son of then-President Michal Kovac -- one of Meciar's most prominent political opponents. Meciar has not been charged in connection with the kidnapping. Police stormed Meciar's residence yesterday after he declined for weeks to accept a court summons for questioning in the cases. His defense lawyers say he refused to answer any of the interrogators' questions yesterday.