Slovenia Sees 6th Week of Bicycle Protests

By , 30 May 2020, 09:04 AM Politics
Slovenia Sees 6th Week of Bicycle Protests All photos JL Flanner

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STA, 29 May 2020 - Several thousand people flooded the streets of the capital Ljubljana for what is the sixth Friday in a row that protesters, most of them on bicycles, expressed opposition to government policies. Smaller crowds also gathered in other cities around the country.

The nexus of the protest, held Fridays at 7pm, is the square in front of Parliament House and the adjacent streets, where the government, the president of the republic and several ministries are seated.

Many protesters were wearing banners targeting specific government policies, including its perceived crackdown on environmental NGOs in favour of large infrastructure investments, neglect of the arts, and irregularities in the purchase of personal protective equipment.

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For culture, for nature, for free media

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In front of the parliament, during a plenary at which the third economic stimulus package and several other key laws were debated, protesters staged a collective turning of backs in a message of no confidence.

Several large banners were unfolded in front of the Presidential Palace mostly focusing on environmental issues.

The protests are spearheaded by a loosely connected group of activists and organisations, including anarchists and environmentalists.

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Slovenia is not Hungary

One of the figureheads of the protests, theatre director Jaša Jenull, was involved in a minor altercation with the police in front of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) headquarters.

Police said he was violating public law and order by drawing a slogan on the sidewalk with chalk.

In Maribor, Večer newspaper reports several hundred people gathered chanting similar slogans. Smaller protests with a few dozen participants have been reported in cities including Lendava, Ptuj, Slovenj Gradec and Celje.

Slovenian protesters also received a message of support from the Slovenian community in the German capital Berlin, who cycled through the streets chanting slogans targeting the Slovenian government, according to social media posts.

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