Poland: Mayor of Gdansk stabbed on stage during charity event

Mayor of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz

A knife-wielding assailant has stabbed the mayor of the Polish port city of Gdansk in front of hundreds of people at a charity event, police and media said.

Interior minister Joachim Brudzinski wrote online that the attack had been an act of "inexcusable barbarity".

He allegedly shouted to the crowd about the attack being due to his being wrongly imprisoned.

Mr Adamowicz suffered very serious abdominal injuries during the attack, said Dr Tomasz Stefaniak, director of health at the University Clinical Centre in Gdansk, early on Monday.

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.

A suspect had been arrested, he added.

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.

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Police said the suspect was a 27-year-old with a criminal record and had carried out bank robberies.

Overseas officials including EU President Donald Tusk, European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans and mayor of London Sadiq Khan also expressed their support for Adamowicz. He was part of the democratic opposition born in that city under the leadership of Lech Walesa during the 1980s.

Radio Gdansk reported that Adamowicz was stabbed in the area of his heart, but did not cite its source, while Rzeczpospolita described his condition as "critical", citing unnamed sources.

He is seen as a progressive voice and has supported LGBT rights and tolerance for minorities. "I pray for his return to health and full strength".

A Polish broadcaster said a man had rushed on stage at around 8pm and said the mayor was seen holding his belly. He showed solidarity with the Jewish community when the city's synagogue had its windows broken previous year, strongly denouncing the vandalism.

The stabbing, during an event that raises money for children's hospitals, has shocked Poland, the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw reports.

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