Anti-Lockdown Rally Turns Violent for First Time in Slovenia

Slovenian police used water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters marching against restrictions designed to curb the coronavirus.

Protesters hurled granite cobblestones, pyrotechnic devices and bottles at police officers, public broadcaster RTVSLO reported late Thursday. Several people were injured, including reporters, and taken to hospital. There were no serious injuries, and 10 protesters were arrested.

It was the first time Slovenian demonstrations, which started in the spring against corruption and the new government, turned violent. Organizers of the earlier peaceful protests have distanced themselves from Thursday’s rally.

Anti-Lockdown Rally Turns Violent for First Time in Slovenia

This also is the first use of water cannons in the European Union nation of 2 million since mass demonstrations in 2012, when anti-graft protests helped topple the second government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa. The prime minister congratulated police on Twitter for yesterday’s intervention and condemned rioting, physical violence and assaults on police officers as “criminal acts that will be punished.”

Slovenia imposed a second lockdown last month as the number of new coronavirus infections threatened to destabilize its health-care system.

The nation is the fourth-worst hit in the EU in 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, according to data by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. A record 30 coronavirus-related patients died on Wednesday.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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