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Thousands rally against Slovenia’s right-wing government

April 27, 2021 GMT

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Thousands rallied in Slovenia on Tuesday against the government of right-wing Prime Minister Janez Jansa, whom opponents accuse of curbing democratic freedoms in the traditionally moderate nation.

The peaceful protest was held on Slovenia’s Resistance Day, which marks the start of the World War II struggle by partisan groups against Nazi German and fascist Italian occupiers. Protest organizers said they were fighting “for freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”

Jansa’s government was formed last year after the resignation of a previous, liberal premier. A close ally of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Jansa has faced accusations of fueling hate speech, tightening his grip on power and pressuring the media. He has rejected these accusations.

Jansa drew international attention when he congratulated former U.S. President Donald Trump while the vote count was still underway during the November election.

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Tuesday’s protest in the capital Ljubljana was the first big rally in months, defying pandemic restrictions on public gatherings. Protesters carried banners reading “People have the power,” or “The young care.” Some wore protective face masks, but not all.

Previously, protests against Jansa’s government were held every week drawing thousands.