The Slovenia Times

Ljubljana Rally Ends in Violence and Friday Parties


An estimated 10,000 people gathered for a rally against political elites in Ljubljana in the afternoon. They wanted to let the decision-makers know that they want radical change.

They carried banners critical of politicians including Prime Minister Janez Janša, opposition Positive Slovenia (PS) leader Zoran Janković and Education Minister Žiga Turk.

Many protesters carried black-and-white photos of politicians reading "He's finished" in various Slovenian dialects.

They demanded that "tycoons and thieves" be locked up and said that judges and trade unionists were also responsible for the situation in the country. "We're neither left nor right, we're cheated!" said one of the banners.

Over 11,000 people liked the Facebook page calling upon the prime minister to resign and initiating the rally. People also brought with them banners that read "Janša go home"; "Janša let us live our lives" and "Even Hitler was elected" printed over a picture of the PM.

Streets around the parliament building and government and presidential palace were closed off and riot police were on site. Protesters urged the police to join the protest, called for better wages for the police and gave flowers to them.

Initially, the rally was peaceful and the mass booed individual fire cracker explosions. Violence was provoked by several dozens of hooded men, allegedly football fans, who started throwing cobblestones, fire torches and pyrotechnical devices at the police and into the crowd.

According to the police, the rioters were equipped with gas masks and daily Večer reported that they had allegedly brought their own tear gas.

The police responded with tear gas and a water cannon was made ready, as several hundred people persisted in front of the parliament building after most protesters had dispersed.

The police later managed to push the remaining protesters from in front of the parliament building back to the Congress Square, where the protest started. A water cannon was used to break up a riot that was reignited there.

Groups of protesters dispersed in several directions. Between 100 and 200 people moved to the Prešeren Square and around 20 protesters headed for the Ljubljana city hall.

The police said late in the evening that 30 rioters were arrested and that the situation was calming down, however, the situation was not quite back to normal and the police force continued to carry out activities needed to restore order.

The STA learnt that between ten and fifteen police officers had been injured, three of them with a cobblestone to the head.

UKC Ljubljana hospital said late in the evening that ten injured were brought in, among them three police officers and a photographer. Three patients had to be stitched up and three police were to remain under observation for concussion.

Police Commissioner Stanislav Veniger told the press that the crowd reacted very reasonably, retreating away from the trouble-makers. Interior Minister Vinko Gorenak congratulated the riot police for their work via Twitter.

Protests were also held in Koper (SW), Nova Gorica (W), Ajdovščina (W), Trbovlje (E) and Novo Mesto (SE), but have mostly ended, passing peacefully.

In Ajdovščina, some 200 protesters called for a revolution, saying that all politicians that have shaped the country in the past two decades must resign.

In Novo mesto some 300 people gathered and another 150 in Koper. Around 700 people rallied in Nova Gorica and 350 gathered in Trbovlje.

Calls for a peaceful protest were voiced by many, including President Danilo Türk, Prime Minister Janez Janša, political parties, the Catholic Church, the police and other organisations.

Türk pointed to the right to a safe life and protection of human dignity, urging the people make the protests dignified. "Let us help police officers enable peaceful and safe protests. Violence must not overshadow their basic messages."

Janša said citizens must strive to ensure that violence does not ruin the protesters' effort for positive change in society and that they "deserve recognition for being active citizens".

Ljubljana Archbishop Anton Stres said ahead of the rally that protests were understandable given the difficult situation, but called on protesters to refrain from violence, both physical and verbal.

Calls against violence also came from the the Sever Association of police veterans, the biggest trade union confederation ZSSS and several civil society associations and non-parliamentary parties.


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