Slovenia deploys police as pro-government “yellow vests” turn out against anti-government protest

By bne IntelliNews July 5, 2020

The weekly protests taking place in Ljubljana entered their 11th week on July 3, when several hundred protesters rode through the Slovenian capital on bicycles to express their unhappiness with the government. 

Protesters say Prime Minister Janez Jansa’s right-wing government has used the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as a pretext to curtail civil liberties. 

Security was stepped up at the latest protests, as there was a smaller pro-government demonstration this Friday, reported state news agency STA. Another protest and counter-protest took place in Slovenia’s second city, Maribor. 

The pro-government protesters, wearing yellow vests, gathered in Preseren Square carrying banners calling the anti-government demonstrators “Anarchists” and “Left Fascists”. They said their intention was to prevent a coup, and vowed to protest as long as the anti-government demonstrations continued. 

This sparked a strong reaction from around 100 groups and civic organisations supporting the anti-government protests, who claimed that “neo-Nazi” gangs had come out in support of Jansa’s government. 

Slovenian President Borut Pahor met some of the anti-government protesters at their request. A statement from the presidency said the meeting was “comprehensive and substantive”. However, other members of the protest movement said that the group that met with Pahor did not represent the movement as a whole.

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