STA, 1 May 2020 - Several thousand cyclists took to the streets of Ljubljana on Friday evening accusing the government of curtailing civil liberties in what was the latest in a series of protests targeting the government's anti-coronavirus policies.
Cyclists rode past Parliament House and adjacent streets, a form of protest that they see as in compliance with quarantine measures mandating a safe distance between individuals and allowing sports activities such as cycling while banning the gathering of people.
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Police said an estimated 3,500 people protested, adding that they had not taken any measures but would take action in the event any violations of the law is detected. Aleksandra Golec, spokeswoman for the Ljubljana police, told the STA several streets had been closed for traffic to ensure safety.
Trg republike v Ljubljani je poln in se še polni s sodelujočimi na protestni akciji #zbalkonovnakolesa pic.twitter.com/VZfBA1pzhV— Večer (@vecer) May 1, 2020
Živel 1. maj! Dovolj ustrahovanja, sovraštva, laži in KRAJE! ✊ pic.twitter.com/4ifDktz3Qa— Brez strahu (@BrezStrahu) May 1, 2020
The rally was organised by twenty-odd self-organised groups and civil society organisations on Facebook as the latest incarnation of a protest series that started with protests at home and on balconies. They dubbed the protest "from balconies to bicycles" [#zbalkonovnakolesa].
"This year's Labour Day marks the start of a new wave of economic and social crisis that is the consequence of the fight against the global coronavirus pandemic.
"The response of this government, as well as all previous and future governments, consists of predictable budget cuts, belt-tightening, plundering of people so that banks may survive, destruction of the environment for the benefit of the few, repression, populism," their Facebook post reads.
Similar although smaller protests were held in several other cities. In Maribor, the second largest city in the country, there were up to 200 cyclists, according the Maribor-based daily Večer.
A much smaller rally was organised earlier in the day by a Facebook group that promotes 5G and coronavirus conspiracy theories. The protest was not permitted and the organiser, Ladislav Troha, was apprehended and several participants will be fined.