Protesters light bonfire in front of parliament

Ljubljana – After a massive anti-government protest in Slovenia’s capital on Resistance Day, several hundred protesters hit the streets on their bicycles on Friday, stopping by at the headquarters of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) on their way to express support before lighting a bonfire in the square in front of the parliament building.

The protest, which is being held in defiance of the ban on gatherings of more than ten people, has been unfolding peacefully with most protesters wearing face masks.

Stopping by the STA headquarters, the protesters were addressed by Jaša Jenull, one of the protest movement leaders, who said the government was trying to silence press freedom, describing the STA as “one of the symbols of press freedom” in Slovenia.

The protesters lit a “symbolic flame of uprising” outside the STA before proceeding to the large square in front of the parliament building where they lit a “protest bonfire” in keeping with the Slovenian tradition to light bonfires on the eve of Labour Day.

In calling on people to take part in today’s protest, the Protest People’s Assembly said the incumbent government did not represent the idea “of our forbearers who fought for freedom, and the majority of population does not want to continue in the direction leading into demise of democracy and rule of law”.

After what was a crowd of 10,000 protesters by police estimates gathered in Ljubljana on Tuesday to “declare their vote of no confidence in the government” it was now time for “MPs, who are clinging to their seats and positions, to do the same”, the movement said.

They believe that democracy, the rule of law and media freedom have never been under such a threat in Slovenia before, that social distress of young people has never been so grave, and the country’s international reputation never so tarnished as today, two months ahead of the start of Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU.