About 30,000 people gathered today in Ljubljana‘s central Kongresni Trg, or Congress Square, to protest against the ongoing austerity policies of Prime Minister Janez Jansa’s conservative government. The demonstrators in Slovenia’s capital joined hundreds of thousands of others who took to the streets in similar actions elsewhere in Europe earlier this week, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece.
The demonstration was organized by Slovenia’s largest trade unions who characterized the austerity measures as a “neo-liberal virus that is spreading across Europe”. The rally was also supported by student and pensioner organizations who face further cuts in school, university and pension budgets.
Speakers at the two-hour event shared variations on a common theme – that wages, pensions and scholarships are not to blame for the current crisis, but rather, as Alliance of Slovenian Independent Unions (ZSSS) head Dusan Semolic said, “It was greedy capitalism that caused it.”
A few hundred later marched two blocks towards the Parliament building which was cordoned off and protected by police. The four hundred police dispatched for the demonstration had a relatively easy and stress-free day with no incidents reported.