Thousands Rally For, And Against, Slovenia's Gov't
By ALI ZERDIN
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) â¿¿ Thousands of people rallied for and against Slovenia's center-right government Friday, adding to the tensions in the small European Union country where authorities have turned to austerity measures to revive the economy.
About 5,000 flag-waving pro-government activists gathered at a central square in the capital, Ljubljana, Friday morning. Hours later, around 20,000 people protested against the leadership. It was the largest anti-government rally since the protests started about two months ago.
The pro-government rally was peaceful, but police used tear gas to prevent a group of anti-government protesters from removing metal barriers that separated them from the downtown parliament building.Demonstrators hurled rocks, wooden sticks and bottles at the police and managed at one point to charge through the barriers, but the police cordon stopped them from reaching parliament. Two people were arrested before the protest ended, police said. Slovenia's government has been on the brink of collapse after two junior partners left the governing coalition over corruption allegations against Prime Minister Janez Jansa. An anti-graft watchdog has accused him of failing to declare more than â¿¬200,000 ($265,000) in private assets, which he has denied. Jansa has refused to step down, saying an election now would hurt Slovenia's efforts to pull out of an economic and financial downturn linked to the EU debt crisis. Jansa's government has cut public spending, including for health care and education, moves it says will keep the country from needing an international bailout. But Jansa's measures have been met with massive protests and strikes that have sometimes turned violent in the otherwise calm Alpine country of 2 million. The anti-government protesters insist that the cost-cutting is hurting the middle class and the poor, but not the "corrupt elite." Friday's anti-government protesters chanted "Thieves!" as they marched through Ljubljana, and put a banner saying "Our property" on the Central Bank.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV