By: Jože Biščak
No one contradicts Zlatan Ćordić that the streets are also his. But they are by no means only his. And no one contradicts Zoran Stevanović that the streets are also his, but by no means only his.
The same goes for the people who gathered at yesterday’s “protest” against the government and against the PCT condition. No one denies that the streets are theirs, but they are not only theirs. They are also from those tens of thousands of citizens who live in Ljubljana, or from visitors to the capital who were in the capital of Slovenia yesterday. The difference was that Ćordić-Stevanović’s connection disturbed the normal everyday life of the vast majority who were not at the protest, do not support the protests or support the government. And the streets and roads are from everyone. I hope we all agree with that.
Ćordić and Stevanović could, of course, apply for permission to hold a meeting at the Ljubljana Administrative Unit. And they would get it too. Without problems. If they did not, it would be a gross trampling of the constitution, an abuse of the powers of public administration officials. Well, they did not ask. Why not, they know best. So I am going to guess. It seems to me that this is not the case because, as organisers, they should then take (personal) responsibility for the rally – from security to the fact that the rally should adhere to the location for which the permit was issued. The possibility of potentially creating chaos would be reduced, we would know who to tug at the sleeve if things got out of hand.
And that is exactly what they do not want – a peaceful rally. Such a rally would not attract much attention (well, I may be wrong), the media would not be able to assign them the role of victim. When they were (without permission) in Republic Square, the police let them go, although they could take action. Which, of course, did not suit the (un)known organisers. That is why Ćordič called on people to leave the Republic Square and take the surrounding streets or head towards the ring road. Then he screamed when the police arrested him. And he complained about the excessive use of force. He was clearly not ashamed of disturbing other people’s normal lives.
The same goes for Stevanović. Think of what happened yesterday when the police prevented protesters from walking on Celovška, Tržaška or Slovenska cesta again. Police allowed the vast majority of other people who were not part of the rally to move and live normally. They could only do this by using coercive means (water cannon, tear gas), because otherwise it just did not work, it did not help. That is why my tribute is addressed to the police officers who prevented individual hooligans from blocking the northern or southern bypass again.
I am surprised that they jumped into the air in the left wing opposition quartet, saying that the government was deliberately creating a state of emergency and that the police were exaggerating the use of force. Marjan Šarec even wrote on the social network Twitter that the government is to blame for the chaos, protests and tear gas. The least I can say is that he is out of his mind. And let him therefore be forgiven. However, this is typical progressive thinking and, in principle, similar thinking about the behaviour of immigrants who have “mental problems”. You know, he comes from Pakistan or Afghanistan illegally to Europe, where he does not get everything he expected (money, a house, a paid holiday on the moon and a wristwatch with a fountain), so he gets into mental problems, which he solves by taking a machete, walks around European capitals and cuts locals. And then the locals are to blame for him running wild through the streets. Oh, holy simplicity!
In Slovenia, the “target” that was chosen a long time ago is to blame for everything – that is Janez Janša. Even before he formed his third government, there were already protests that were escalating. The opposition says street violence will stop if the government resigns. Which means it will continue if it does not, and it will escalate even after the right wins the election again and forms a government. They will only be satisfied when they are in power.
The current center-right government seems to have learned a lot from 2012, when the left wing mafia encouraged unrest and chaos. Their moral antipathy at the time shook the government (with the help of Gregor Virant), and the right did not resist excessively. Today is different. A few thousand people on the street who present themselves as the people (What is then the other 99.5 percent of the population? Air or what?) and show an incredible resemblance to the Chinese Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution will not overthrow the government. And so it is right. We have elections in parliamentary democracies to replace the government.
Jože Biščak is the editor-in-chief of the weekly Demokracija, a long-term investigative journalist, and since 2020 also the president of the Slovenian Association of Patriotic Journalists and the author of three books.