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Parents protesting closure of schools

Koper, 31 January - Several hundred people gathered in Koper to protest against closure of schools after the Obalno-Kraška and Zasavje regions slipped back into black tier last week. The government decided schools should return to remote teaching and kindergartens close on Monday after pupils in grades one to three were allowed back for only four days last week.

Koper
Several hundred people rally against closure of schools and kindergartens.
Photo: Mitja Volčanšek/STA

Koper
People gathering to protest closure of schools and kindergartens.
Photo: Mitja Volčanšek/STA

Koper
People gathering to protest closure of schools and kindergartens.
Photo: Mitja Volčanšek/STA

Koper
People gathering to protest closure of schools and kindergartens.
Photo: Mitja Volčanšek/STA

Koper
People gathering to protest closure of schools and kindergartens.
Photo: Mitja Volčanšek/STA

Koper
People gathering to protest closure of schools and kindergartens.
Photo: Mitja Volčanšek/STA

The protest was initiated on social media and drew parents, as well as children and other protesters, carrying banners saying "Schools must remain open", "Enough! Zoom is cancelled!" and "Open kindergartens, shut down government!".

"This is not an uprising, this is not a revolution. This is a fight for the basic rights of all of us, but especially our children. We're here today to say no to additional destruction of our children's future," one of the parents said.

The protest in Koper comes a day after some 200 people protested the closure of schools in Trbovlje. Moreover, posts on social media suggest that today and tomorrow parents will be protesting in other parts of the country as well.

Prime Minister Janez Janša responded to the Trbovlje protest in a tweet this morning, labelling it "irrational and dangerous exploitation of children for political purposes in a time of epidemic."

"The rally is also illegal. It is such irresponsible behaviour that worsens the situation in individual regions," Janša added, also retweeting a tweet saying that the organiser of the Trbovlje protest ran for the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) in the 2018 local election.

In nine of Slovenia's 12 administrative units, kindergartners and pupils in first three grades of primary school were allowed to return on Tuesday, after more than three months.

But on Thursday, the government decided to once again close the schools in Zasavje and Obalno-Kraška regions following an increase in coronavirus cases that pushed the regions back into tier black.

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© STA, 2021