Ljubljana’s Anti-Govt Cycle Protests Continue on Foot in 8th Week

By , 13 Jun 2020, 10:35 AM Politics
Protesters in front of Parliament Protesters in front of Parliament Robert Balen @robert_balen, Twitter

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STA, 12 June 2020 - Protesters who have been voicing their displeasure with the government conduct Fridays for the past two months left their bicycles today and protested on foot, first filling up Prešeren Square and then continuing in front of parliament. They shouted and displayed slogans against fascism, militarisation and repression.

While protests were also held in other Slovenian cities, including Maribor, the biggest number gathered in the capital.

In addition to slogans aimed directly at the government, including "No to the Policy of Janšism" and direct calls for resignations, they also shouted in defence of worker rights, culture and the environment.

Before the protest, which started at 7pm, around a dozen protesters gathered in front of the US Embassy building in Ljubljana to express their opposition to police violence against African Americans.

When the rally moved in front of Parliament House around 8pm, a small group of protesters, some clad in all black, had an altercation with police when they tried to move the protective fence erected to keep them away from the parliament building.

There is no official information as yet about any arrests or injuries, but social media videos indicate the tensions quickly subsided.

The Friday demonstrations started as protests held on balconies during the coronavirus lockdown, and continued on bicycles in April as the government eased some of the measures. They are organised and coordinated by several on-line initiatives.

The protesters are also critical of the government due to the alleged irregularities in the purchase of personal protective equipment, staffing changes, increased police powers, plans to send additional soldiers to the border, attacks on journalists and limiting of the work of environmental NGOs.

One of the calls for today's protest reads that "being attacked are the hard-fought and significantly eroded worker rights, access to public health, nature and the environment and fundamental freedoms, including the right to protest."

The youth trade union Mladi Plus issued an open letter supporting the protest, pointing to "autocratic aspirations", which are incompatible with trade union work, corruption which puts workers in a precarious position and the "spreading of untruthful propaganda."

Last week some 4,000 people turned out for the protests, according to police estimates.

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