Slovenia: Police used water cannons to break the protest

Slovenia: Police used water cannons to break the protest

Slovenian police intervened with force to disperse several thousands of citizens who on Wednesday afternoon protested in Ljubljana. This was a third protest against the tight anti-Covid measures and the introduction of Covid Passports.

The immediate reason for the protest was the death of the 20yo girl who died after vaccination with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine. The vaccination with this type of vaccine was suspended, Health Minister Janez Poklukar announced.

The special advisory group for vaccination at the National Institute of Public Health proposed the move and the suspension would be in place until all the circumstances of the woman’s death have been cleared up, according to Poklukar.

However, this did not stop citizens to gather in Ljubljana downtown and block the traffic for few hours on the northern ring road, where police dispersed them with water cannon. They headed back toward the city centre. They have gathered in front of the RTV Slovenia building and shouted: “We want five minutes”.

The police later announced that the protest is dissolved, but protesters did not agree. According to the police, the rally was disbanded in order to ensure the safety of all persons. That is why they also used coercive means. All protesters were also urged to leave the area of ​​the Ljubljana northern bypass in peace and follow the instructions and orders of the police.

The third consecutive protest against the mandatory PCT condition began early afternoon. The protesters demanded the abolition of the PCT condition, the resignation of the government and early elections. As reported by MMC journalist Miha Zavrtanik, a fence in front of the parliament greeted the protesters – Trg Republike is about half fenced, and there were many police units on the scene.

After three hours of gathering on Republic Square, the protesters marched in front of the Presidential Palace and from there along Celovška Cesta towards the ring road, where they stopped traffic. There, they were met by police with a water cannon. Due to the protest, the northern Ljubljana bypass between the Koseza and Zadobrovo junctions was closed in both directions for few hours. The protesters then marched back towards the city centre and gathered in front of RTV Slovenia.

In a video invitation to the rally, the president of the Resni.ca party, which prepared the protest, Zoran Stevanović, assessed, among other things, that this was the only option left to them, as the government was carrying out a coup and overthrowing the constitutional order with decisions that are, in his view, unconstitutional. As he said in statements to the media at the protest, this time they decided on an earlier hour of protest, as they calculated that a parliamentary session would be held in that time, but it ended before the beginning of the rally.

The father of the 20-year-old, who allegedly died from a complication after vaccination, also addressed the audience at Republic Square. He said, “She just wanted to buy freedom, just like everyone else.” The participants of the rally gave her honour with a minute of silence.