The current limit on public gatherings and general social distancing measures are preventing marches and rallies as forms of organised protest, but on Friday many still turned out in Ljubljana to show their disquiet at recent actions of the new government, getting around the restrictions by riding on bicycles, drawing attention by ringing the bells. Those in the streets where joined by others on balconies, making noise with pots and pans.
The protest, which is due to take place again at 7pm on 1 May – and perhaps every Friday in the weeks to come – aims to highlight what the participants claim are moves to exploit the covid-19 crisis to consolidate the power of the new Janez Janša led government, not least through attacks on the media and courts, as well as increases in police power and attempts to move troops to the southern border. Moreover, the protest gained a new focus on Thursday with the explosive claims of a whistleblower, supported with recordings and texts, that indicate high level corruption in recent deals to purchase personal protective equipment.
So don’t be surprised if you find yourself on the otherwise quiet streets of Ljubljana in the lockdown days ahead, on a Friday around 7pm, and come across a crowd of cyclists loudly heading towards Republike trg (the square in front of Parliament ), or hear pots and pans banging into the evening. Until things open up again, it may be the sound of the spring.