At the anti-government cycling protest, the Police had not only ensured public order and counted how many protesters had gathered but also actively participated in the protest itself. One of the police officers agreed to take a photo with a protester, where he posed, holding his thumb up, and thus expressing support for the protesters. When the masked policeman was criticized by the public for his unprofessional behavior, the Police Union of Slovenia defended him. This is the Police union which was established under the auspices of former Minister of the Interior Katarina Kresal and in the presence of former Police Director-General Janko Gorišek. The new Union was founded because the original one was accused of being too right-wing because its then-leader Branko Prah worked well with Vinko Gorenak.
Given that the leaders and prominent politicians of the left-wing opposition parties called for the participation in the anti-government cycling protests, it is not surprising that the Police Union of Slovenia (Sindikat policistov Slovenije – hereinafter referred to as the SPS), which was created as an extension of the political left within the Police itself, defended the police officer, who posed with a thumb up for one of the protesters.
The SPS claims that the “pogrom by certain politicians and even ministers” against the police officer – a motorcyclist who agreed to be photographed – “is highly offensive toward all of Slovenia’s 8,000 Police employees.” The SPS is clearly trying to deceive everyone with its statements, and they apparently want to turn all 8,000 members of the Police against the Government. Certain politicians and even ministers, as the SPS said, did not actually reprimand all police officers, or the Police as such for their inappropriate behavior, they only reprimanded an individual who acted improperly. This, in itself, means that their statements can in no way apply to all 8,000 employees of the Police.
“The police officer who has been the target of discreditation, acted according to his strategic considerations in the given moment, and with his action, clearly showed the crowd that his job was to ensure their safety,” the SPS tried to excuse the police officer’s actions. But the police officer could have also shown the crowd that his job is to ensure the safety of all people by refusing to pose for a photo, or by writing up the young man who approached him. But he did not do that.
It is interesting to see how far we have come in the conversation, given that the Police were protecting the attendees of a forbidden protest against the Government, with which the participants endangered public health. Instead of fining all of them, individual police officers even showed support for such irresponsible and illegal behavior.
SPS leader Kristjan Mlekuš has been causing discord among the police officers since the formation of the new Government. At first, he talked about the inappropriate masks, but it quickly turned out that Marjan Šarec’s Government was also to blame, and the problem was quickly solved by the Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs. Then followed the allegations of the Government’s abuse of Article 37.a, which would ensure that the military was given police powers to guard the state border, which would relieve police officers and allow them to also provide security within the country.
Mlekuš’s actions are not all that surprising, as he is a well-known trade union political activist, who has publicly expressed the opinion that “NATO is a criminal organization,” as Mitja Iršič pointed out. “It seems perfectly normal for him to be on the side of the protesters since they are essentially anti-Western and anti-capitalists.”
But while the police officers in Slovenia are joining those who are protesting against the Government measures, footage of German police officers arresting the protesters who are endangering public health, regardless of how many are gathered, is circulating online.
“Slovenia is the only country in the world in which the Police Union is fighting against the measures that would relieve police officers (Article 37.a), and at the same time, supports the violations of the Communicable Diseases Act,” Prime Minister Janez Janša commented on the matter.