LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — About 10,000 protesters joined the chief of Slovenia’s anti-corruption watchdog on Friday in urging the country’s prime minister and opposition leader to resign after an official report accused them of graft.
“Thieves! Thieves!” many of the demonstrators chanted as they accused Prime Minister Janez Jansa and opposition leader Zoran Jankovic of corruption. The protesters burned photos of both men in front of Parliament.
“They have to go and that’s it,” said Nada Vukadinovic, a demonstrator carrying a banner about the two politicians saying: “They Are Finished.”
Riot police used tear gas and a stun grenade to disperse about 15 demonstrators who tried to remove a metal barrier separating them from the parliament building in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital.
A report issued this week by the state Commission for the Prevention of Corruption accused Jansa and Jankovic of serious graft, creating a political crisis in a Balkan state already suffering economic problems and setting off widespread calls for both men to face legal and political consequences.
Goran Klemencic, the head of the watchdog, told The Associated Press in an interview on Friday that the two are accused of “systemic, gross and repeated violations of the anti-corruption legislation.”
“It’s been the first time in this country that an anti-corruption watchdog has … accused the head of the government and the head of the opposition, who together basically cover more than 60 percent of the Slovenian political sphere and have held very high offices,” Klemencic said. “In that respect, it is expected that this has created an upheaval.”
The commission report said Jansa has failed to declare more than €200,000 ($265,260) worth of private assets. It accused Jankovic, who is also the mayor of Ljubljana and one of the richest people in Slovenia, of failing to clarify where €2.4 million ($3.1 million) of his money came from.
Both have denied the accusations and refused to step down, criticizing Klemencic and his commission, which filed the report to the police seeking legal action.
Friday’s protesters demanded an end to austerity measures which Jansa’s government has proposed in an effort to avoid seeking EU financial help for the country.
Some of the banners carried by Friday’s protesters read: “Klemencic, You Are Our Hero.”
“How can the prime minister and the head of the main opposition party, the mayor of the capital city, in a democracy, still be in place, after such findings?” Klemencic said in the interview.
“If nothing happens, either in terms of political consequences, or in terms of strengthening our powers and also our accountability, I will resign,” Klemencic said. “I don’t want to be part of a system which is a paper tiger, which conducts a very thorough, in depth financial investigation based on facts, and basically then nothing happens.”
Jansa’s center-right coalition partners have called on him to step down and let someone else be the premier. He refused, giving them until next week to decide whether to remain in the government or start preparing for early elections.
An early vote would further prolong finding solutions for the financial turmoil, which includes a gross domestic product shrinking by 3.3 percent in the third quarter compared to a year earlier. That’s the third-biggest drop in the euro zone after Greece and Portugal.
Associated Press writer Ali Zerdin contributed.
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11