Demonstrators take to streets of Slovakia’s capital, blocking roads to protest against Covid vaccination law

Hundreds flocked onto Bratislava’s streets and obstructed traffic in the capital, to protest against a recently passed law granting fully Covid-vaccinated people easier access into public venues than non-inoculated citizens.

Protesters poured into Bratislava en masse on Thursday, blocking key roads and the presidential palace to demonstrate their opposition to the recent coronavirus vaccination law. Several of the protesters made demands from the government and president to give power back to “the people”, with others warning that the law was creating a two-tiered society between the non-vaccinated and the fully inoculated. 

The recent legislation, approved on Sunday by the parliament and signed by the president, Zuzana Caputova, immediately gave authorities the right to impose restrictions on non-vaccinated people should the coronavirus situation escalate.

Non-vaccinated citizens would be required to produce a negative coronavirus test or show proof of recovery from the illness before entering establishments such as restaurants. Meanwhile, citizens fully vaccinated against Covid are able to enter public spaces more easily by confirming their vaccination status.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger expressed concern at the protests, commenting that “everyone has the right to express their opinion, but they should do so politely and without restricting the freedom of others.” Heger also warned that Slovakia is on the brink of experiencing a third wave of coronavirus infections and advised citizens to act responsibly, as “at stake is the health and lives of loved ones”.

Thursday’s demonstration is not an isolated incident, but a continuation of protests that erupted last Friday. Protesters gathered outside of the national parliament in Bratislava, attempting to force themselves inside and pelting eggs at the building. Riot police responded by deploying tear gas on the activists.

Slovakia has one the lowest numbers of vaccinated persons in Europe, with data from Johns Hopkins University suggesting that just over 35% of the population is fully inoculated against coronavirus. According to a recent poll, 36% of Slovaks do not want to get vaccinated against Covid. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the central European country has recorded over 392,000 coronavirus cases. Slovakia’s Covid death toll stands at 12,536.

Via https://www.rt.com/news/530655-demonstrators-streets-bratislava-protest-vaccination-law/