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torek, 7 decembra, 2021

The Legal Network for Democracy: a platform for the protest movement that works contrary to the principles of the rule of law

By Sara Rančigaj (Nova24tv)

 We are approaching a point where the nation is increasingly divided. On the one hand, we have responsible individuals who, in order to protect the health of others, decide to get vaccinated and respect protective measures. On the other hand, there are also those who change even the 1993 laws for their beliefs. One such network is also the Legal Network for Democracy, which advises citizens on legal aid, laws and ordinances related to the coronavirus epidemic. With the help of affiliated non-governmental organisations and law firms, it also assists protesters in overturning sentences, for example for non-compliance with measures at rallies and related police conduct. But in reality, it is not so much about aid as about another anti-government front under the pretext of fighting for the rule of law.

In Slovenia, things work as if we live in two different countries. While on the one hand there are individuals who are doing their best to stop the virus, on the other hand we have various societies trying to legally help those who are deliberately spreading the virus. “Based on a decree that was not published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, an individual was fined EUR 400 for violating the curfew. We managed to get the district court to stop the misdemeanour proceedings, and the amount of the fine was returned to her,” the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy announced on Twitter.

In the field of law and the protection of civil society, the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy initiative has been launched. This is an initiative to provide legal support to individuals and organisations that find themselves in legal proceedings due to “non-violent public action”. They protect a democratic, open, free and solidary society through legal opinions, positions and calls. Among other things, the legal network is actively participating in Friday’s protests, where they say, “that they monitor the protesters, who are objectively, neutrally and impartially observed in their actions.” By doing so, however, they also showed their true intentions.

A legal network that has nothing to do with the rule of law

Four NGOs and concerned individuals have joined forces in the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy initiative, which brings together an online platform and a network of highly qualified lawyers and law firms. The Fund for Active Citizens in Slovenia is intended to strengthen civil society organisations, promote active citizenship and empower vulnerable groups. Slovenia is one of the 15 Member States eligible for financial assistance from the Fund of Active EU Citizens, contributed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

What we mean by the term “being an active citizen” can be interpreted by everyone in their own way. After a detailed review of the association’s website, we noticed that they set up a network of non-governmental organisations from Metelkova, which is primarily intended to support the protesters. The latter can read in detail on their website the rights, how to act if they are identified by a police officer in public, the rights to protest, express free will and respect for ordinances, which is understood as the protection of human rights and democracy in the country. “A network to help the virus and endanger health and lives. But the sign is real. A totalitarian symbol of death. It has nothing to do with democracy, only with its suppression,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša.

Miha Simoniti from the Celje hospital points out that the health workers are exhausted both physically and mentally, the thought of another wave of the epidemic and everything else terrifies them. “That is why they are starting to take opposition to vaccination very personally,” he explained. With the growing number of infections, Janša pointed out that the number of vaccinated per day is too low, while the number of infections is growing rapidly – yesterday we recorded 264 new infections. “There is enough vaccine for everyone and it is free for an individual. All the restrictions in the autumn and all the costs of repeated testing are or will be completely unnecessary – we are causing them ourselves and not the virus,” Janša emphasised.

Is this Jenull’s extended deadline for the legal protection of protesters?

Like many protesters led by frontman Jaša Jenull, they themselves are defending the right to protest or express free will. In this case, it is more important for like-minded people to express their free will, regardless of the consequences that such behaviour brings with it. The whole country is trembling before the re-closure of the country, which could bring us an economic catastrophe in the long run, which in turn could affect the well-being of the people. But Jenull-type privileged people obviously do not think about the consequences of such behaviour in the long run. Only that freedom of speech is guaranteed, even if it makes children hungry at the expense of epidemics and infections.

The data also speak for themselves: The public company Ljubljanska parkirišča in tržnice – JP LPT and the Ljubljana Police Administration charged Jenull with temporary traffic regulations and emergency security at three different rallies and for the implementation of extraordinary security at the rally called “2nd action for culture”. For the erection of fences and traffic signs, LPT Ltd in their legal opinion, unfoundedly charged 678.42 euros without a legal basis, and the Ljubljana Police Department charged 171.11 euros for the organisation and implementation of the extraordinary security of the rally. Jenull did not have to pay anything in this case, and the Police Administration and the LPT Public Company cancelled the bills.

Are non-governmental organisations from Metelkova connected with the financing of the network?

The law firm Zupančič Čokert, which, from 2017, has been doing most business with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, the State Forests, the Public Institution of Ljubljana Pharmacies and the Home for the Elderly Moste-Polje, totalling in 43 thousand euros of business transactions, helped the protesters to prevent being responsible for executing their Friday’s parties. It is not entirely clear what the financing of the Legal Network is, they are officially financed with the help of donations, and partly also with the help of non-governmental organisations, which also established this network, but data on them cannot be found.

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