An anti-government protest in the Zongongian capital of Sneedville, which officials have claimed has devolved into a “riot” is continuing for its fifth consecutive day. The protest began on Saturday, and appeared to have ended when police forces dispersed tear gas. However, several hours after the controversial use of tear gas, participants re-formed their rally in Royal Central Square, half a mile from the Zongongian Parliament building. The new rally began with around 150 participants, but by midnight had swelled to upwards of 2,000. On Sunday morning, protesters were joined by more individuals, and by the start of Monday there were around 10,000 people in the square at any one time.
Groups of protesters have also been seen throughout the city, where shop windows have been smashed; walls have had anti-government slogans sprayed on them; and one Economic Focus politician had an egg thrown at him while attempting to buy groceries. In the square, protesters have been more peaceful; however they have begun to set up camping equipment and portable stoves, which violate numerous city ordinances. The protesters in the square have refused all police instructions to leave.
As well as demanding the resignation of the Grand Coalition government and fresh elections, protesters have also decided to show solidarity with other protesters abroad in Taragai, where over 700 peaceful protesters were arrested by their Communist government several days ago. Zongongian protests have been seen with signs reading #FreeTaragai alongside their own slogans; and one hour of the continuous protest was designated as a “Taragai solidarity rally” this morning.
The protesters have refuted a government spokesperson’s claims that their activities constitute a “riot”, with their own spokesperson telling the Zongongian Gazette: “we are a peaceful protest movement whose aim is to ensure that Zongongian democracy, and the voices of Zongongians expressed at the ballot box, are respected. The current so-called Grand Coalition does not possess a mandate to govern, and they must resign and make way for fresh elections, the result of which must be respected. Those engaged in forms of mild vandalism do not represent our movement”.
Prime Minister Ivan Kristensen told the House of Representatives on Wednesday: “there are ways to express disagreement without occupying a large space of our capital city and running wild destroying shopfronts. These protesters are disrupting people trying to go about their everyday lives, and frightening residents of our capital. We have so far been gracious in allowing this to continue unchallenged; however if the so-called protesters continue with their excess disruption, we will have no choice but to act.”