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The Police Did Not Even Check The Legality Of The Arrest Before The Construction Of The C0 Canal

As we have already reported, the Ljubljana basin has been quite shaken up in the past few weeks over the C0 Connecting Canal project, which will carry wastewater from the municipalities of Vodice and Medvode to the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant Ljubljana – Zalog. According to many experts, the construction of the canal in the restricted protected water area of the Kleče and Šentvid catchments poses a serious and grave risk to the preservation of drinking water sources for Ljubljana and its surroundings, and at the same time, we are also witnessing the scenes of violence against the owners of agricultural land in the area in question.

As we already know, heated passions quickly escalated into police violence. The police brutally dealt with a landowner who refused to give permission for digging on his land. “A man had his face pushed to the ground in the middle of winter – this is horrifying! Indescribable! It is the year 2022, this is the time of Freedom (“Svoboda” in Slovenian), with two S-es before it,” the former MP of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Mojca Škrinjar, was appalled at what is happening.

And what is happening in the C0 area now? The works continue, as if to ridicule everyone. A handful of local people and landowners have been resisting this, and who will not allow the sewerage system to be built on their plots without proper permits.

“Today, the police, by stating that they are ‘assisting’ in the start of the measurements for the new excavation, in my opinion grossly abused all their powers, in the name of assistance, as they forcibly and roughly detained a man, a landowner, who was sitting on his private land, next to his trailer. They pushed him to the ground, handcuffed him and took him to their police van,” Škrinjar said in horror, and then explained that the reason for their unacceptable behaviour was the demands of the landowners and others who were present that the contractors and representatives of the Municipality of Ljubljana show them the documents and permits for measuring and excavation. “They did not show any documents, so we believe that there actually are no documents and that they do not have a valid building permit for the excavation.” When the owners asked to see the documents or the permit for measuring, the contractors shamelessly replied that “the landowners should file a lawsuit against them, since they are walking on their land”!

One of the landowners was also arrested for not leaving his land when the contractors wanted to start digging but refused to show him any documentation to prove that they were allowed to do so. “The C0 sewage pipe! This is Freedom – the prison of Slovenians,” former city councillor Mojca Škrinjar wrote. Dear citizens, this is the new “freedom” that the Freedom Movement party (Gibanje Svoboda) and the other coalition parties promised us before the elections.

We have also contacted the police to ask them to clarify whether the police violence we saw on the video was justified. We received a surprising answer. They said:

“We would like to clarify that the police, when providing assistance to competent beneficiaries, do not check or determine the legality and correctness of previous procedures, nor do they check whether there are factual grounds for carrying out a certain task. All of the above is the responsibility of the beneficiaries (in this case, the Municipality of Ljubljana), which is also responsible for the professionalism and legality of its procedures, to which the representatives of the Municipality were particularly reminded. The role of the police is only to ensure the safety of the beneficiaries.”

It looks as if the police are defending The-King-Can-Do-No-Wrong monarchical doctrine (the King is never wrong). They believe one party in the proceedings without checking any facts (in this case, the Municipality of Ljubljana), which has an accentuated interest in ensuring its own position, while property rights, or the violation thereof, suffered by the other party in the proceedings, are “not examined,” even though this is a constitutionally protected category under Article 33 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia.

Given that the police did not check the facts, the only logical thing to do would have been to stay out of the conflict, but in the end, they got involved anyway – in physical form – and sided with one party in the proceedings (the more powerful one –

meaning, the Municipality of Ljubljana). This raises the question of how is it that they ensured the safety of the beneficiaries when one of them was arrested and physically injured, even though he was not a danger to himself or his surroundings. We have asked the police administration for further clarifications and will publish the answers when we receive them.

Andrej Žitnik

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