The spokeswoman for the ruling Law and Justice party Beata Mazurek said the attack should be “absolutely condemned by all, regardless of what side of the political spectrum they are on.”
She insisted politicians in Poland need “greater responsibility for words, for deeds” because “there is no shortage of madmen on both sides” of the political scale.
Ruling authorities also sent a government plane to transport the mayor’s wife, who had been travelling, from London back to Gdansk.
The government’s critics, however, said that they believed that animosity voiced against Adamowicz by ruling party officials, sometimes carried on state television, as well as by extremists, played a role.
Adamowicz was part of the democratic opposition formed in Gdansk under the leadership of Lech Walesa during the 1980s. After leaving Civic Platform, he was re-elected to a sixth term as an independent candidate in the fall.
As mayor, he was a progressive voice, supporting sex education in schools, LGBT rights and tolerance for minorities. He showed solidarity with the Jewish community when Gdansk synagogue had its windows broken last year, strongly denouncing the vandalism.
Adamowicz also advocated bringing wounded Syrian children to Gdansk for medical treatment, a plan, however, blocked by the Law and Justice government. After he took that stand, a far-right group, the All-Polish Youth, issued what they called a “political death notice” for Adamowicz.
The last politically motivated attack in Poland was in 2010 in Lodz when a man shouting that he wanted to kill Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski fatally shot an aide to one of the party’s European Parliament lawmakers.
Kaczynski, at the time an opposition leader, blamed the attack on an “atmosphere of hate” under Civic Platform.