Protests Not Letting up as Rallies Continue Across Slovenia
The wave of anti-establishment protests held across the country in recent weeks shows no sign of letting up, as large groups gathered Friday in the capital Ljubljana as well as Murska Sobota in the east.
Holding banners decrying the corruption of the political elite and attacking capitalism, between 1,000 and 2,000 protesters walked from Kongresni trg square to Ljubljana City Hall and on to the Parliament House, walking by numerous state institutions and the central bank.
They expressed their discontent with the entire political elite, the government as well as the leader of the opposition, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, the Roman Catholic Church and capitalists.
Protests last week ended in violence in Ljubljana and Maribor, but so far the situation has been calm.
Previous protests in the capital and elsewhere have been grassroots affairs started by Facebook groups without recognisable leaders, but today one of the organisers, Uroš Lubej, came forward.
Lubej is a teacher and editor of a local magazine in Novo mesto. He said he spoke on behalf of a group of people who launched an online petition (signed by about 26,000 people) demanding a system for the recall of elected representatives.
He said the recall and more direct democracy was one of the protesters' demands, the others being that the entire political elite step down, affirmation of the rule of law and radical reform of the judiciary.
Lubej said some of the organisers were joining forces and forming a committee that would present their demands on 21 December, when a nation-wide protest dubbed "The First Pan-Slovenian Uprising" has been announced.
Meanwhile, a group of over 50 intellectuals, many of whom have been appealing for active citizenship for years, launched the site www.danesjenovdan.si (today is a new day) on which they are gathering proposals for social reform.
In Murska Sobota in the east about 2,000 people gathered in the central Trg zmage square, according to police estimates. They voiced much the same message of disdain for the political elite.
Smaller rallies were also held in Bohinj in northern Slovenia and Ajdovščina in the west.
Since the protests started in Maribor on 12 November, rallies have been held in 16 cities and towns across the country.