Protesters mark Statehood Day with criticism of political elites

Ljubljana – Organisers of weekly anti-government protests staged an alternative celebration of Statehood Day on Friday. The crowd filled Prešeren Square as speakers criticised political elites.

In inviting people to the protest, the organisers said the event was open to all people who recognise that this is a holiday of the people, not a holiday of political elites and unilateral taking of credit.

They said the people are fed up with political strife dating back thirty years and want a decent and free life.

“It is time to transform Slovenia into an inclusive, more just and more equal society under the principles of democracy, rule of law, liberty and social justice,” the invitation said.

The event saw addresses by representatives from various walks of life, including a war veteran, a trade unionist, a philosopher and a student.

Some opposition politicians from centre-left parties also took part.

At the outset of the protest some members of the far-right Yellow Jackets unfurled a banner saying “You call patriotism fascism to defend your communism”. They were escorted away by police, according to several media reports.

The event was held in the evening, just hours before the official state ceremony.