A mass movement in Slovenia is challenging a power grab by the country’s far right prime minister.
Around 10,000 people took to the streets of capital Ljubljana on Friday. It marked the sixth week of mass protests in towns and cities across the country against prime minister Janez Jansa.
Jansa is trying to use the coronavirus crisis to increase state powers for the police and military and targeting migrants' rights and environmental groups.
He is an ally of Hungary's far right prime minister, Viktor Orban, who gave himself dictatorial powers in March.
Tea Jarc, president of the Mladi Plus union, has been on the protests since the beginning. “Every week there is a new scandal in how the government acts and operates,” she told Socialist Worker.
“They are spreading hatred against everyone who isn’t them.”
“They are abusing the coronavirus crisis, and in times of crisis governments shouldn’t be allowed to whatever they want.”
Tea says that “now everybody knows what they’re doing on a Friday evening”. “When the government collapsed we thought we’d face a new election, but other parties were able to form a coalition with an extreme right party,” she said.
“The first protest was in February calling for people to have the power to decide, then coronavirus hit and the government started imposing measures.”
“So we started having weekly protests on Fridays."
One corruption scandal erupted over reports that officials had favoured friendly companies when buying face masks and ventilators.
Another proposed law would allow construction and energy companies to ride roughshod over the environment.
Jansa claims the new powers are to protect people’s health. But he is still pushing ahead despite declaring an official end to the epidemic and many lockdown measures from Monday.
While reopening schools and workplaces, protests and gatherings remain band.
The protests see mass cycle rides to get around a state ban on protests and the threat of arrest to organisers. Tea said, “Nobody can be the official organiser so nobody is—and this is what bothers the government a lot.
“We’re calling on people to say, ‘I’m the organiser,’ and then we have 10,000 people saying it.”
The left and unions, climate change and LGBT+ groups are at the centre of the protests. And Tea says they have drawn in many people “who are in between” and just believe “what the government is doing has crossed the line”.
The protests have forced the government to back off some proposals, such as giving cops powers to track people and go into their homes.
People are determined to continue—with many demanding the fall of the Jansa government.