Heger: Protests Part of Democracy, But They Should Be Peaceful

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Hundreds of people protesting in front of the House against the use of COVID-19 digital certificates in establishments and other anti-pandemic measures (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 23 (TASR) – The right to freedom of expression forms part of democracy, but demonstrations should be peaceful, as any form of aggression and attacks against the police are unacceptable, stated Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLaNO) on Friday in reaction to the protest taking place on the same day in front of the parliamentary building.

“I understand that people are tired of the pandemic, and none of us find the anti-pandemic measures pleasant, but [the Government] is implementing them to protect the lives of all people in Slovakia, even those of the protesters,” said Heger, whose statement was provided to TASR by his spokeswoman Lubica Janikova.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the House on Friday, chanting phrases such as “Gestapo”, “treason” and “give us Parliament”. MPs on the same day are set to discuss an amendment to the law on the protection and development of public health that stipulates that the Public Health Authority should take digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates into consideration when drawing up anti-pandemic measures, meaning that people would have to present a digital pass when entering various establishments. The protesters want the Government-sponsored amendment to be rejected.

The police have deployed both a riot unit and anti-conflict team, and reportedly also fired tear gas into the crowd. Several skirmishes between protesters and the police have taken place. So far, there have been reports of one injured police officer.