Police Attack Slovenians Protesting Against COVID Restrictions, Vax Passports

Crackdown on large demonstration staged ahead of major EU summit

Image Credits: Ales Beno/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Police in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana clashed with crowds demonstrating against Covid restrictions, deploying horse-mounted officers, tear gas and water cannon to disperse people on the eve of today’s European Union summit there.

Hundreds of demonstrators on Tuesday took to the streets of Ljubljana to oppose the government’s pandemic measures, with a video on Twitter showing seas of people marching along roads.

Other footage showed mounted riot-control police on horseback and demonstrators being hit with water cannon fired from a truck.

A video apparently captured thick white plumes of tear gas moving across a road in the center of the capital as vehicles drove through the mist.

The leader of the protest movement has reportedly been detained by law enforcement.

The demo came the day before European leaders met in Ljubljana, which is currently chairing the EU Council presidency, on Wednesday to hold talks with Western Balkan countries that aspire to become members of the bloc.

While the protests coincided with the arrival of EU officials, the rally was part of a string of similar demonstrations in recent weeks to decry the Slovenian government and its handling of the pandemic.

At the end of last month, huge crowds marched to protest against the mandatory requirement, introduced in mid-September, of Covid passes for almost all shops, services and workplaces.

Police estimated attendance for the late-September rally at 10,000, while the organizers put the figure at 10 times that number.

Slovenia, home to around 2 million people, has vaccinated around 48% of its population, falling behind many countries in the 27-strong member state EU bloc.

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