Nearly 2,000 people demonstrated in downtown Ljubljana on Saturday afternoon after the government said that it would accommodate 90 migrants in a nearby hotel, some protesting for and some against the migrants, with mounted and riot police setting up a cordon to prevent the two groups from physically clashing.
More than 1,000 people gathered outside the hotel, carrying red flags and banners reading "Migrants, welcome" and "Death to fascism, freedom to the people, and asking that Slovenia be hospitable and tolerant towards foreigners and settlers. Among them were left wing sympathisers, politicians, authors and civil workers who had already advocated letting migrants through to their destinations and protested against a wire fence the government set up along the border with Croatia to reduce the migrant flow.
The rally of support and solidarity was organised as a demonstration against the conservative right wing which has been organising protests in a number of towns in recent weeks against migrants and their reception in Slovenia and demanding the southern border be sealed.
Arriving later, those against the reception of migrants and asylum seekers in Ljubljana carried the state flag and banners reading "Migrants, stop" and "Migrants are not welcome". They shouted that they feared for Slovenia's safety, notably women, and for the national identity. They also carried an insulting anti-Muslim caricature.
The two groups started trading insults but did not clash thanks to the police and then peacefully dispersed.
According to estimates, there were four to five times more of those advocating a welcome for the migrants than those against.