Slovenia: Police used water cannons to break up the protest

Slovenian police intervened forcefully to disperse several thousand citizens who protested in Ljubljana on Wednesday afternoon. This was the third protest against the strict anti-Covid measures and the introduction of Covid Passports.

The immediate cause of the protest was the death of a 20-year-old girl who died after being vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccination with this type of vaccine was suspended, announced the Minister of Health Janez Poklukar.

The special vaccination advisory group at the National Institute of Public Health proposed the move and the suspension would be in place until all the circumstances of the woman’s death were clarified, according to Poklukar.

However, that did not stop citizens from gathering in downtown Ljubljana and blocking traffic for several hours on the northern ring road, where police dispersed them with water cannons. They turned towards the city center. They gathered in front of the RTV Slovenia building and shouted: “We want five minutes”.

The police later announced that the protest was dissolved, but the protesters disagreed. According to police, the rally was disbanded to ensure the safety of all persons. This is why they also used coercive tools. All protesters were also asked to leave the northern Ljubljana bypass area in peace and follow police instructions and orders.

The third protest in a row against the mandatory PCT status started early in the afternoon. Protesters demanded the abolition of the PCT condition, the resignation of the government and early elections. As reported by MMC journalist Miha Zavrtanik, a fence in front of parliament greeted the protesters – Trg Republike is about half surrounded, and there were many police units at the scene.

After three hours of gathering in Republic Square, protesters marched in front of the Presidential Palace and from there along Celovška Cesta to the ring road, where they stopped traffic. There, they were greeted by police with a water cannon. Due to the protest, the northern bypass of Ljubljana between the Koseza and Zadobrovo junctions was closed in both directions for several hours. The protesters then marched back to the city center and gathered in front of RTV Slovenia.

In a video invitation to the rally, the president of the party, which prepared the protest, Zoran Stevanović, assessed, among other things, that this was the only option left to them, as the government was carrying out a coup and overthrow. of the constitutional order with decisions that according to him are unconstitutional. As he said in statements to the protesting media, this time they decided on an earlier hour of protest, as they calculated that a parliamentary session would be held at that time, but it ended before the start of the rally.

The 20-year-old’s father, who allegedly died of a complication after vaccination, also addressed the audience at Republic Square. He said, “She just wanted to buy freedom, just like everyone else.” The participants of the rally paid their respects to her with a minute of silence.

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