Natisni vsebino

Concern after Protest against Maribor Mayor Turns Violent

27.11.2012 14:28

Ljubljana/Maribor, 27 November (STA) - Concern is being voiced from all quarters Tuesday after protests against Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler turned into a violent escalation that left a dozen police officers injured and two dozen protesters behind bars. Amidst calls for a calming of the situation, questions are being raised about use of police force.

Human Rights Ombudsman of Slovenia dr. Zdenka Čebašek Travnik said the protests were "a consequence of the poor functioning of the rule of law and ignorance of democratic standards".

She called on politicians to "take the deep meaning of the message to heart and conduct a serious analysis of the state of Slovenian society".

The initially peaceful protests Monday escalated after a few hours, when several hundred demonstrators - believed to be mostly football hooligans - among the crowd of 6,000-10,000 clashed with police, which used tear gas and deployed special forces to break up the crowd.

Media reports suggest this was the largest violent protest Slovenia has seen in its two decades of independence.

The police claim the use of force was warranted considering the scope and intensity of the violence, but there are accounts from reporters covering the rally live suggesting police may have used excessive force.

A short video has appeared online - and since published by a number of media outlets - showing a police cordon marching towards sitting protesters and then pepper-spraying them, which seems to have become a focal point of critics of police conduct.



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