Slovenia: Police use water cannons to break up rally protesting anti-coronavirus measures

Slovenia: Police use water cannons to break up rally protesting anti-coronavirus measures

Police forces clashed with large crowds protesting the latest anti-coronavirus measures in downtown Ljubljana this afternoon. According to media reports, the police were forced to use water cannons for the first time in the country’s history.

As websites report, protesters were the first to use force against the police, leading to a head-to-head wrestle. Various objects were thrown at the police units, which responded with water cannons. The police allegedly identified a young man throwing slurs “in Serbian”, while another person hit a policeman from behind.

It all started in Republic Square, with protesters gathering again afterwards at the Cankarjev dom cultural center and throwing bottles, pyrotechnics and firecrackers at the police forces. Some of the objects also hit the TV Planet crew, which managed to escape the “sandwich” between the police and the demonstrators at the very last moment.

The police announced that roughly a hundred people had gathered in Republic Square, with Radio Television Slovenia reporting that the organization Anonymus Slovenia was behind the protest.

Police cautioned on Wednesday that large crowds were still banned due to the worsening epidemiological situation, and rallies and similar events were not allowed. It was pointed out that this does not undermine the right to assembly and freedom of expression, however the measures introduced are extremely important for the health of all citizens.

Slovenia’s interior minister Aleš Hojs accused the media of “participating” in the demonstrations in which several people were injured and two were hospitalized.

“The media is co-responsible for this. You supported them for months and “fed” them. You, the media, contributed to what went down today. Now, you have a wounded policeman”, Minister Aleš Hojs stated, pointing the finger to POP TV journalist Katarina Matejčič. /ibna