While families made their yearly pilgrimage to cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of relatives about five hundred Hungarian soccer fans went to the southern Slovak town of Dunajská Streda (Dunaszerdahely) to create trouble. The town, situated fairly close to the Slovak-Hungarian border, is predominantly Hungarian. Of the 23,000 inhabitants the Slovak population is no more than about 3,000.
The soccer match between Slovan Bratislava and the locals was unlikely to be a nailbiter. But the stadium, seating 10,000, was filled. One thousand people came from Bratislava and there was a contingent of 500 from Hungary. The Slovak police must have known that trouble was brewing because about 1,000 policemen were ordered to the scene. The police led the three groups to the stadium along different routes. There was a route for the locals, another for people from Bratislava, and still another for the Hungarian visitors. The Bratislava group was attacked en route: rocks were thrown at them. Some people were arrested at that junction.
The Hungarians called attention to themselves by displaying signs saying: Perseverence (Kitartás). Unfortunately that was the customary greeting of Hungarian Nazis in the late 30's and 40's. The stadium was full about an hour before kickoff, and the two sides spent the time screaming obscenities at each other. Just before the match began the locals and the Hungarian visitors sang the Hungarian national anthem. At last play started, but after eighteen minutes the referee had to stop the match because the people from Bratislava threw a smoke bomb onto the field. According to the reporter of the Hungarian newspaper, Népszabadság, the police didn't do anything to the Bratislava crowd but attacked the locals and the Hungarian visitors. Perhaps the reason was the flags that the Hungarians displayed. On one of them at least one can clearly see the map of historical Greater Hungary. (Here is the picture.) Now, surely, whoever takes along a flag like that to Slovakia is looking for trouble. If the locals and the Hungarian visitors sang the Hungarian national anthem at the beginning, after the Bratislava team won it was time to sing the Slovak anthem by the visitors from Bratislava.
I think that this episode on All Saints' Day tells a lot about Slovak-Hungarian relations. More than that, it tells a lot about the relation between the Slovaks and Slovakia's Hungarian minority. There is every reason to be worried.