Slovenia: “Anti-Janša” protest in Ljubljana

On the day Slovenia celebrated Resistance Day, commemorating the uprising against the Nazi occupation regime in World War II, April 27, several thousand citizens resisted bans imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic and gathered in the center of the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana.

Protesters walk through the center of Ljubljana, stopping in front of the Government Palace, the Presidential Palace and the House of Parliament. The rally, which began in Prešeren Square, was organized by the same left-wing activist groups that have staged weekly anti-government demonstrations since last spring and were the time to coincide with Resistance Day.

One of the organizers, a Facebook group called the People’s Protest Assembly, said the rally was a call for “freedom, democracy, the rule of law and the immediate resignation of Janez Janša and new elections”.

She said this year’s Resistance Day was “dedicated to the new united front” which is fighting oppression and “the reign of terror”. The government was accused of launching attacks on groups including cultural workers, the media, NGOs and intellectuals.

Several speakers appeared, including Živa Vidmar, the daughter of Liberation Front founder Josip Vidmar, journalism professor Sandra Bašič Hrvatin, criminal law expert Dragan Petrovec, environmentalist Uros Macerl and poet Boris A. Novak. The choirs sang partisan songs of resistance.

As reported by the STA Agency, the protesters wore banners with slogans including Janšism = Fascism, Youth Care, People Have Power, banners in favor of drinking water protection and bicycle flags, which have become the symbol of anti-government protests.

The group then headed to the square in front of the Parliament House near the Government House and the Presidential Palace. Speeches were held in all countries.

Such protests have been held for a year and were a weekly occurrence during the autumn when a deadlock was imposed. They started again last week after restrictions were eased.

Police said before the protest on Tuesday afternoon that they would monitor the collection and compliance with the restrictions. There were no immediate reports of any altercation with police.

The current rule is that up to ten people can be accommodated, with ten square feet per person a minimum requirement. Live social media broadcasts show that distancing was not observed and, although most wore masks, many were without them.

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