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Pensioners Flood Republic Square

On Friday, Pavel Rupar started the new – now practically traditional – protest in front of the building of the national media outlet, Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS), and it then continued in Republic Square, which was packed despite the bad weather. This time, the protesters were joined by soldiers and veterans.

The leader of the protest movement, Pavel Rupar, first welcomed all pensioners, as well as all other dissatisfied citizens, to the protest. This time, groups of civil servants and doctors also came to the aid of the crowd of several thousand, and Rupar gave them a special welcome. Motorcyclists, soldiers, policemen and policewomen also turned up. Rupar gave special thanks to the soldiers of the Slovenian Independence. He also expressed his support for our media and for Boris and Zala Tomasič.

“In this weather, I would honestly be afraid of such a crowd,” said Rupar. “We came to the premises of RTV, the radio, nobody dared to step in front of us. Cowards!” He presented a campaign to stop paying for “this madness” called the mandatory RTV contribution.

Then they sang the Slovenian national anthem – Zdravljica.

Rupar addressed the public sector workers

Rupar then addressed the public administration workers on strike: “They are locked inside. Every day, they are assigned new tasks. Civil servants, that is a prison, that is not a strike. If you are on strike, you are not working. That is why I call on all civil servants to come out and protest. Come among us. There is joy here, there is no joy there.”

Rupar expressed his special thanks to the police officers who are protecting them and silently expressing their dissatisfaction at the protest. He also thanked the soldiers, saying that he knew that without them, there would be no freedom (and remarked that there is already Freedom – referring to the ruling Freedom Movement party (Gibanje Svoboda) – but we want to end it together with everyone else as soon as possible).

Drago Bobnič, a pensioner and veteran of the war for Slovenia, read out a frustrated letter from Slovenian soldiers, written anonymously, complaining that the left-wing government is systematically destroying the army – spending big, promising 2 percent of GDP for the army, but they have not seen any of it yet. The Slovenian army is therefore in a very unenviable state and is experiencing a high drop-out rate, and they are ashamed of the incompetent army commander, President Nataša Pirc Musar.

The pensioners’ protest was also attended by Zala Tomašič, a candidate for the position of Member of the European Parliament, to whom Rupar’s pensioners expressed their support in the European Parliament elections. She thanked all the pensioners and said that their support meant a lot to her. But she did not want to address them only as a candidate, but mostly as a daughter and granddaughter.

“Your life, work and commitment are the foundation of our society. You have built what we have today. You built an independent country. Now it is our duty to pay you back for it. Today, you should be enjoying a well-deserved peace, but you must fight for the rights that are actually yours. I promise you that I will fight for you, because your fight is my fight. It is a fight for justice, for a decent life, for a future where each one of us is respected and valued. I am here today for all my grandparents, for both my grandmothers who cooked for me, even when they were tired. Who took care of me when I was sick, when my parents were at work. I am also here for my grandfather, who, unfortunately, was let down by the long-term care system. I am here so that this will not happen to anyone else.”

She also spoke about the recent raid on our media outlet: “Nova24TV and my father’s home were also recently raided. It was a terrible reminder of how far this government will go to silence us. But they will not succeed. If we all unite, they will not succeed. They will not silence us. I see my father every day working to bring pluralism to the media space, and not just him, but the whole team at Nova24TV. All the cameramen, the editors, the sound engineers are fighting so that we have access to real information. Let’s show them that they have our support.”

She also touched on the issue of intergenerational cooperation, saying, “The government of Robert Golob has forgotten about you, but we have not. Your value goes beyond words, beyond numbers on paper. Your value is priceless, because without you, older people, there are no young people. Together we are stronger, together we can make a difference. You gave us life, you raised us, you cared for us. We young people will be in your place one day. We, too, will be old one day. And we will need a system that looks after us all. That is why we are here, to show that we care. We stand with you in this battle. We will stand with you until we achieve the change you deserve. It’s time for us young people to give back to you, to work for you. On behalf of young people, I want to tell you that you are not alone. So let us fight together for normality and for Slovenia. Thank you!”

AGAINST in the referendum

Dr Majda Zbačnik, a doctor, then spoke about the pitfalls of euthanasia and the necessity of palliative care: “We don’t need euthanasia if we take care of the patients’ healthcare and palliative care. Vote NO in the referendum!”

Rupar then promised to fight for fair pensions. “We will circle four times AGAINST in the referendum because we are IN FAVOUR of life! Vote for sanity and against madness at the ballot box! Don’t go to early elections, there’s fraud!”

The organisers have announced that they will hold another pensioners’ rally in September.

M. I.

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