- Title: Slovenian police use water cannon on COVID protesters
- Date: 29th September 2021
- Summary: BANNER HELD AMONG CROWD WITH TEXT READING (Slovenian): "Government, we've had enough of you" PROTESTERS FILLING SQUARE AND SINGING
- Embargoed: 13th October 2021 22:14
- Keywords: COVID-19 Johnson and Johnson vaccine Slovenia anti-vaccination coronavirus restrictions mass protest protest water cannon
- Location: LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA / INTERNET
- City: LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA / INTERNET
- Country: Slovenia
- Topics: Europe,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA005EWRWVUH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Slovenian police used water cannon to disperse a group of anti-government and COVID-sceptic protesters who rushed onto a highway in the capital, Ljubljana, during a day of protest on Wednesday (September 29).
The protesters broke through a line of riot police officers to gather on the highway, temporarily halting traffic.
They were among thousands who gathered and marched in the capital to protest tightened coronavirus restrictions, including the need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 to enter indoor public spaces and in some workplaces.
Among those who spoke to protesters on the square in front of the Slovenian parliament was a man who said his 20-year-old daughter Katja had died after being vaccinated with the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
Slovenia on Wednesday temporarily suspended vaccinations using the shot after the death of a young woman, according to a report by the STA national news agency.
The country's public broadcaster RTV Slovenia reported journalists covering the protests were harassed and had objects thrown at them, drawing condemnation by journalists' associations.
Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa said in a tweet that alleged physical assaults by protesters, harassment of journalists and obstructing traffic was not included in their constitutional right to assemble.
He criticised police leadership in the capital, saying they were "clearly not capable of prevention" and called on the country's interior ministry to take action.
Protesters demanded the lifting of vaccine requirements, the resignation of Jansa's government and early elections, RTV Slovenia reported.
Slovenia has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections since July, although deaths remain low.
Just over 50% of the population has been vaccinated, according to Reuters' COVID-19 tracker.
(Production: Borut Zivulovic, Lewis Macdonald)
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