Thousands march in Slovakia to honour slain journalist

Similar marches were being held in some 25 towns and cities across the country and in cities overseas, including London, Paris and Brussels.

Most-Hid, a junior party in his coalition, raised the prospect of withdrawing support as it entered internal talks on Friday, after calling for Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, a close ally of Fico, whose business acquaintances had been subjects of Kuciak's earlier articles, to resign.

In the Slovak capital Bratislava, among the 20,000 protesters, some carried photographs of Mr Kuciak and Ms Kusnirova, along with a banner reading: "An attack on journalists is an attack on all of us".

The murder of Kuciak, whose reporting focused primarily on links between businessmen and Slovak politicians, was the first of a journalist in the country. Kuciak had been looking into suspected mafia links among Italian businessmen in eastern Slovakia at the time of his death.

The seven men were taken into custody Thursday when police raided houses allegedly linked to members of an Italian crime syndicate.

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A retired Italian anti-Mafia prosecutor said Italian prosecutors had warned authorities in Slovakia of "dangerous" infiltration by a powerful organised crime syndicate before the killings.

Mr Roberti suggested the group may have killed the journalist as "there was no other way to silence" him.

The FBI, Scotland Yard and Europol are helping Slovak police with the investigation.

The killings come less than five months after anti-corruption journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, died in a vehicle bomb on Malta.

  • Delia Davidson