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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Three ladies and the wrong direction of the coalition – part 4

By: Dr. Vino Gorenak

Let’s move on with the facts.

Using a water cannon

Water cannons are also used very rarely by the police, as a rule, even when public order and peace are massively violated and cannot be established by other means. The warnings of some that the water cannon was bought at a time when I was the Minister of the Interior, and used only during the third Janša’s government, were ridiculous. This, of course, is not true. In 2012, we had and used a decades-old water cannon that broke down practically every few kilometres, we did not have a new one, nor did I order one. A new water cannon was purchased during the government of Miro Cerar. We did not problematise the purchase on the right political pole, as we knew that the police needed it. This would certainly not be the case if the water cannon had been purchased during my ministry. I did not record how many times the water cannon was used during past violent demonstrations. In my memory, when a crowd of 20,000 people was walking along Celovška street in the direction of the ring road, and maybe a few more times. However, there is a lot of talk about how it was used illegally and against innocent people, which is of course absurd. If you walk in the middle of Celovška street in Ljubljana and thus illegally close traffic and you intend to do so on the ring road, you are not an innocent citizen.

Police tactics changed after violent protests in 2012

Violent protests in 2012 were thoroughly analysed by the police and a fairly high number of injured police officers and bullies were found, so they changed their tactics slightly towards less use of classic coercive means and more use of those that cause neither police injuries nor injuries of perpetrators. This is a water cannon, and these are gas resources. In 2012, 31 perpetrators and 115 police officers were injured. This is also confirmed by the data.

In the years 2020-2022, with a significantly higher number of protests and protesters, 43 police officers and 5 protesters were injured, of which one journalist was injured by a protester, and not the police.

Such a situation in no way allows criticism of the police, not even in the sense of its alleged “brutality and violence”. Data on the use of water cannons and gas resources deserve praise rather than criticism, as they have significantly contributed to fewer injuries to police officers as well as perpetrators.

Our analysis would not be complete if we did not pay special attention to the violent demonstrations and police measures on October 5th, 2022. Today, the left political pole talks about how the police excessively fumigated Ljubljana that day, how they attacked innocent people and how they allegedly fired all the amount of gas charges they had.

But let’s go in order and follow the truth. The mentioned day was not an ordinary day, especially not for the police. On that day, representatives of all EU countries, the entire EU leadership, as well as leaders of some other countries gathered in Ljubljana and Brdo pri Kranju. From a security point of view, such an event means a high security risk event for the police, and the police must use all legally prescribed measures to ensure the safety of protected persons, which these persons are, of course. At that time, the police also had threats that the perpetrators would forcibly block Brdo pri Kranju, including with tractors and trucks, to prevent the meeting.

Imagine a situation where the police assess that they are not able to ensure the safety of participants and the event is cancelled, can you imagine a situation where the safety of one or more protected persons would be endangered, let alone that any of the protected persons would be injured or even died? Inconceivable. The whole world would report this, and a negative image of our country and the police would suddenly go around the world. I cannot even imagine something like that.

As a result, the police did their job more than perfectly, preventing any endangerment of the protected persons, only the driver of one of the protected persons, drove into the crowd, blocking the free passage of his vehicle and the driver had to retreat. And what did the protesters do that day, the left-wing coalition calls them “innocent people”, which of course they are not. It is an indisputable fact that it was not about peaceful people but about thugs who gathered at an unreported violent protest. Police thus recorded 13 crimes of damaging a foreign object. It also dealt with 5 criminal offenses of assault on an official person, and one criminal offense of obstruction of official duty to an official person, participation in a group that prevented an official person from committing an official action and the criminal offense of inciting resistance. So much for the excessive “fumigation” of peaceful and innocent people.

In this case, the police officers are therefore criticised and threatened with investigations, and it would be right for those responsible to praise them for a job well done and to ensure a peaceful meeting of the most important representatives of the EU, Member States, and others. Well, we could hear such praise in Brussels, not in Ljubljana.

Concluding remarks

In conclusion, we can ask why the coalition is acting the way it is acting regarding the police and inspection services. So far, the inspection services are, to be honest, less under attack. They argue that they want to depoliticise the police as if they were under the political influence of the former right-wing government. However, when the left-wing political option, which is not lacking in the police, is placed on its top and far below it, the police will be depoliticised. Of course not. It will be politicised by favoured cadres, so this is not a depoliticisation of the police.

On both political sides, it should become perfectly normal for any political option to put people at the top of the police for whom they believe will do their job well. That is all. No one should be allowed (this is happening now) to threaten police officers who work legally and responsibly with various investigations and procedures, as this only demotivates police officers for fair and lawful work.

The coalition’s actions in this regard, however, have much more important, vile, and reprehensible intentions. The coalition promises amnesty for fines already paid, interruption of proceedings in cases where they are still pending, and exemption from paying police costs the police had in this regard to those who were violent and who organised violent protests, and thus helped the same coalition to power. This, however, is, as has already been said, vile and reprehensible, as it has only one message to the perpetrators. That is, in the time of right-wing governments, be violent, break the law and do everything you can to change right-wing power, and when we are in power, the left will be acquitted anyway. Inadmissible.

Just to conclude, let’s turn things upside down, politically speaking, and imagine the situation in a direction that will not happen, because we right-wingers are not violent, and we respect the law. Can you imagine a situation in which violent protests against the left-wing government would be organised by the right-wing political pole with its supporters and sympathisers? At the same time, the perpetrators would be promised amnesty and an end to the unfinished proceedings against them when the right wing is in power? Doing so would lead to anarchy, in the extreme case even more.

It is imperative that the current authorities first and foremost start respecting the rule of law, which they declaratively swear by in practice, but obviously not, according to which everyone must be held accountable and sanctioned or acquitted of misdemeanours and crimes before the courts and nothing else.

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