Slovakia: thousands of people protest against Fico’s government

Thousands of people took to the streets of major cities in Slovakia on December 19 to continue their protests against Robert Fico’s government’s plans to disband the special prosecutor’s office overseeing high-profile corruption cases, reduce penalties for corruption, and weaken whistleblower protection.

The organizers of the protests, led by the opposition, reported that the rallies were held in the cities of Kosice, Presov, Poprad, Banská Bystrica, Žilina, Nitra, Trnava, Trencin, Spiska Nova Vesey, Liptovsky Mikulas, and Považská Bystrica.

According to the head of the leading opposition party, Progressive Slovakia, Michal Šimečka, the changes in legislation planned by the government will lead to amnesty for the mafia and corrupt people.

Earlier, Šimečka said that the opposition is determined to continue protests until the government withdraws the “pro-mafia package.”

“We will keep increasing the pressure, as that is the only thing Robert Fico understands. We are determined to continue until his government withdraws ‘the pro-mafia package’,” said Michal Šimečka

The prime minister’s attempts to reform legislation that could potentially violate EU norms have also been sharply criticized by Brussels. The European Commission urged Slovakia not to rush into changes and threatened it with legal action for violating the law.

In a country of 5.4 million people, thousands of people have already taken part in protests in several cities. Bratislava has seen the largest number of people—about 10–15 thousand.

Civic activists and organizations are also mobilizing, including For a Decent Slovakia, which organized protests in 2018 after the murder of Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, which eventually led to Fico’s resignation as prime minister.

Fico regained his post as Prime Minister five years later, in October 2023, following the victory of his Smer party in the September elections.

The European Commission had earlier sent a letter to the Slovak Minister of Justice warning the Slovak government against plans to eliminate the Special Prosecutor’s Office.

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