Mass protests in Slovakia against pro-Russian government’s proposed legal changes

Protests in Bratislava, Slovakia on January 11, 2024
Protests in Bratislava, Slovakia on January 11, 2024
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Slovakia on Jan. 11 to protest pro-Russian Prime Minister Robert Fico’s plans to amend the country’s criminal code, AP reported on Jan. 12.

Read also: Thousands of Slovaks protest against the government of Robert Fico

The proposed changes involve abolishing the special prosecutor’s office, which deals with serious crimes like bribery, organized crime, and extremism. Such cases would instead be dealt with by regional prosecutors who have not handled such crimes for 20 years.

Around 20,000 protesters gathered in the central square of Bratislava, according to police. The crowd chanted slogans like “mafia, mafia” and “enough of Fico.”

<span class="copyright">REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa</span>
REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa
<span class="copyright">REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa</span>
REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa

The legislation introduced by Fico’s government will require approval from both the President and the parliament. However, a three-party coalition has a sufficient majority to overcome a potential veto from President Zuzana Caputova.

Caputova stated her readiness to use constitutional procedures to challenge the law. It remains unclear how the Constitutional Court might rule at this time.

Read also: Slovak PM Fico says Ukraine is not ready for EU negotiations

From the initial, relatively small, protests in Bratislava on Dec. 7, which involved several hundred people, anti-government rallies have now spread to 19 cities and towns. By Dec. 19, thousands of people in major cities across Slovakia had gathered to protest against the law.

In parliamentary elections on Oct. 1, the pro-Russian party Smer-SD, which is led by Fico, emerged victorious. Fico opposes support for Ukraine and its accession to NATO, stating that Slovakia will cease military assistance to Ukraine and focus solely on humanitarian support. He also argues for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

Fico has previously repeated false Russian narratives, such as claiming that the “war began in 2014 when Ukrainian Nazis and fascists started killing Russian citizens in Donbas and Luhansk.”

We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!

Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine