Trouble in paradise – Revolt in Slovenia


(Nederlandse versie en foto’s onderop)

Winter is about to begin and in Slovenia things are heating up. After a protest in the second largest city Maribor gone wild on Monday evening, people took the streets of capital Ljubljana yesterday evening in a wild protest. More demonstrations are expected in the coming days and weeks.

Trouble in paradise. There is revolt going on in quiet calm Slovenia; the two million people small Alpine-State. Being called through Twitter and Facebook, several hundred people gathered in the centre of Ljubljana yesterday evening for a wild protest against police actions at the protest in Maribor on Monday, the bad state Slovenia is in, government, mayor Franc Kangler of Maribor, Ljubljana mayor Zoran Jankovic and … yeah, against what not?

In Ljubljana after one hour of protest, of the hundreds that gathered in the centre, half left. Although police had to make a cordon around parliament to prevent people to go in, things stayed relatively quiet. After two hours, a dozen people were shouting in the rain. A few dozens of others were standing around them under canopies and watched. An hour later the rain dispersed the remaining crowd.

Are the Slovenians now really standing up? And against what would they? Well, the economic crisis hit Slovenia hard. The country has run out of money and since last summer chances are growing the EU-Troika will have to come to the rescue. Slovenia is working on measures to improve the financial situation but the politicians aren’t capable of reaching a consensus.

Meanwhile the mayors of Maribor and Ljubljana have been accused of corruption. Maribor-mayor Franc Kangler sparked the revolt when he put thirty speedcamera’s along the streets of the European Cultural Capital of 2012. Modest demonstrations against the camera’s soon culminated in fiercer protests after Kangler came under scrutiny for corruption.

On Monday 10.000 people took the streets of Maribor. Police used tear gas against protesters when they allegedly tried to enter town hall. Eleven policemen and eleven protesters were injured and thirty protesters were arrested. And while Maribor licked it wounds on Tuesday people were being called on Facebook and Twitter to protest in Ljubljana. Expectation is that more demonstrations will follow. Probably already later this week.

Calm and quiet Slovenia, for how long?

________________________________________________________________________________
Revolutie in een slaapstaat?

Rustig landje in de Alpen met een volk dat bescheiden is in omvang en karakter. Zal Slovenië ook na deze winter dit beeld nog met zich mee dragen?

De slechte economische situatie, een bekritiseerde regering die maar geen consensus kan bereiken en corruptiezaken tegen de burgemeesters van de tweede stad Maribor en hoofdstad Ljubljana lijken het volk tot een revolutie te hebben aangezet. In navolging van de Grieken en Spanjaarden zijn nu de als veel koelbloediger bekend staande Slovenen de straat opgegaan.

Maandagavond trokken 10.000 mensen de straten van Maribor in, de Europese culturele hoofdstad dit jaar, om te protesteren tegen burgemeester Franc Kangler die onder vuur ligt wegens corruptie. De politie zette uiteindelijk traangas in. De balans: elf agenten gewond, elf demonstranten gewond en dertig arrestaties. Het protest van maandag volgde na meerdere kleine demonstraties die begonnen tegen het plaatsen van snelheidscamera’s.

Dinsdagavond gingen honderden Ljubljanezen de straat op na oproepen op Facebook en Twitter. Dit keer liep het niet uit de hand. De regen, die harder en harder naar beneden viel, dreef uiteindelijk de mensen uit elkaar. Maar de onvrede is niet weggespoeld. Voor deze week al worden meer demonstraties voorspeld. Ik zal voortaan moeten uitkijken waar ik hier mijn auto parkeer.

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