Polish mayor Pawel Adamowicz 'stabbed on stage' at charity event

Mayor of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz

A Polish mayor was left fighting for his life on Sunday night after a convicted criminal stabbed him while on stage at a charity event.

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.

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

Adamowicz has been mayor of Gdansk since 1998.

Adamowicz has been mayor of Gdansk, whose population numbers around half a million, for two decades and the Civic Platform had supported his re-election in 2018 municipal elections.

Pawel Adamowicz was rushed to hospital after being attacked during the fundraiser organised by one of Poland's biggest charities.

Police were investigating how the attacker had been able to breach security to reach the podium, Gdansk police spokesperson Joanna Kowalik-Kosinska told reporters.

A tweet from interior minister Joachim Brudzinski said an act of "inexcusable barbarity" had taken place.

European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, wrote on Twitter: 'Let's all pray for Mayor Adamowicz. He was part of the democratic opposition born in that city under the leadership of Lech Walesa during the 1980s.

He also showed solidarity with the Jewish community when the city's synagogue had its windows broken past year, strongly denouncing the vandalism.

Other leaders also expressed their support for Adamowicz.

The suspect, who was released from prison recently, had access to the scene using a media badge, Polish media say. "I pray for his health and recovery", Mr Duda added on Twitter.

Radio Gdansk reported that Mr Adamowicz was stabbed near his heart as the attacker shouted from the stage.

The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity raises money for state-of-the-art medical equipment Poland's cash-strapped health care system, mostly for children but also for the elderly.

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