Janša says govt will not cave to pressure

Ljubljana – Prime Minister Janez Janša said the government would “not cave to pressure” after Zoran Stevanović, the leader of the protests against the Covid pass mandate, called on the government to resign or face new protests, including a blockade of the upcoming EU-Western Balkans summit. He called on the competent authorities to take action.

The more trouble protesters make, the more the EU will understand and support the government’s measures, Janša said in a text circulated on social media on Sunday.

“Look around and you’ll see that across the EU there are quite a few people similar to you who exploit people’s anxiety, hamper health measures, foment unrest and claim that the earth is flat.

Janša also took a swipe at the media, noting that “nowhere else do mainstream media turn them into heroes,” adding that this was why Slovenia has a vaccination rate below the EU average and was paying a higher price in the battle against the epidemic.

“We’re all hostages to you and people like you who are in a clear minority despite rowdiness, and who declare yourselves the people.”

The prime minister goes on to say that Slovenia is suffering significant economic damage as a result, as mass gatherings not in compliance with restrictions spread the virus across the country, causing disease and death.

He said the conduct caused by Stevanovič and his announcements for the future indicate he may be in violation of three articles of the criminal code, including provisions that make it a criminal offence to incite to hatred and violence, and violence against the representatives of foreign countries.

“The competent authorities are obligated to act in accordance with the law, or else they will share responsibility for the consequences you are causing,” Janša says.

The statement came after Stevanovič led mass protests by a crowd estimated by police to number 10,000 that blocked Ljubljana for several hours. Police used a water cannon to try to disperse the crowd.

After the protests, Stevanovič urged people on social media to block the EU-Western Balkans summit, which starts at Brdo pri Kranju tomorrow evening with a dinner by EU leaders.