In the last couple of weeks, the organized violent demonstrations which happened on Thursday, the 5th of November, caused quite a stir. Certain gangs of the criminal underworld were destroying property, attacking police officers, and even seriously injured one of the photojournalists, as well as fought with each other at the scene. The group Anonymous Slovenia also published the call for violent demonstrations on its social network page. This call then quickly spread, and it was made at least 14 days before the event actually happened. The national media outlet TV Slovenia even broadcast the call of (the organizer) Anis Ličina, who said: “Forget the ringing of your bicycle bells, come protest on the 5th of November, that is when things will get serious.”
TV Slovenia is one of the media outlets that has been promoting violence against the current government and closely monitoring all the unreported, illegal Friday protests against it, since the beginning. Individuals from the national broadcaster are not even trying to hide their hatred of the current government, even though they are going against all of their professional standards with that. After the violent demonstrations that happened last Thursday, they then published a recording on the show Tednik, in which Anis Ličina also appeared.
Ličina was presented only as a protester, and he, of course, appeared on the television without wearing a protective mask, as if to make a fool of everyone, and when the journalist asked him why the journalistic teams were also beaten at the protest, Ličina answered: “I suggest, or what I would do if I was a reporter, you just wear a vest, or something, labelled with RTV, and you would be able to avoid the violence.” To put it differently, in the violent protests we organize, we will not attack those who are ours and are wearing a vest with the RTV label; we will attack others.
The responses to Ličina’s appearance on the show were horrible, TV Slovenia was then forced to apologize, but they made sure to protect their left-wing host of the show Tednik, Jelena Aščić, and blamed the journalist for the whole thing: “The recording was edited just before the show and the time constraint caused a misunderstanding in the communication between the editor and the journalist who prepared the clip,” they wrote in their response to the question from the Siol.net web portal. Experts say that this is a misleading explanation from the management team of TV Slovenia and that the journalist had to leave the clip of Ličina in, at the request of Aščić. The latter is also allegedly personally connected to Ličina, a well-known journalist and editor Vinko Vasle wrote on Twitter.
Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs was also critical of the reporting on the show Tednik. The Minister already pointed out on the day of the protests that the media were partially responsible for what was happening in the country. He also warned that organized crime is behind the violent demonstrations in Ljubljana. When he was asked why he thinks so in an interview with Delo, he answered that he believes this to be true, based on who was invited to the protests. “Anis Ličina was also among them, and he was even interviewed by RTV Slovenia – I find this scandalous – according to public announcements: it is well known what kinds of proceedings the gentleman is currently part of.”
Hojs revealed that the police began to monitor Ličina more closely after he publicly called on the people to come to Ljubljana on the 5th of November for the real protests, on public television. “After that, the police started to monitor him more closely, and the director of the police told me that they also tried to contact him. Ličina told them that he was not in Slovenia but in Greece. It is unclear how he got there, probably from Belgrade. But when he returned, the police interviewed him,” Hojs explained.
Prosecutor to the police: Do not even dream of bringing in the organizer of the protest – Anis Ličina
The Ministry is also working on making it a crime to call for protests and organize them during the epidemic. Hojs explained this by mentioning the example of Ličina, as the prosecutor allegedly told the police to not even dream about bringing in the organizer of the protests. “It is enough for the prosecutor to say that she will not prosecute him. When I was informed about this, I thought it would be the right thing to make it more clear in the Criminal Code, that this is a crime,” Hojs said.
The Minister therefore also revealed the conduct of one of the prosecutors. He did not give her name, but it was soon announced that the person in question was supposedly Maja Ulčar, the district state prosecutor at the Ljubljana district court office. Those who are more familiar with Ulčar then revealed that she is supposedly the niece of the lawyer Mirja Ulčar, who is a close friend of Franc Perčič, also known as the adviser of the former President of the Republic, Danilo Türk.
Ličina, the elite, the criminals and the drugs
Siol.net wrote that in the past, according to media reports, Ličina was allegedly involved in an international criminal organization, which traded in various drugs in Slovenia and Croatia, as well as around the world. Slovenian and Croatian police managed to break up the group earlier this year. About six years ago, Ličina also found himself in court, as he was allegedly a member of a criminal group that smuggled people across the border.
Journalist Bojan Požar also wrote about the motives for the protests on his web portal (pozareport.si). In an article entitled “What do the Slovene Intelligence and Security Agency and the police know – criminals and the Ljubljana elite at the protests together, because the drug business is down?!” he wrote: “This means that well-known criminals from Ljubljana, who are protesting against the Janša government, are protesting because the government is bringing down their drug trafficking business, and the media-political protection they have been proven to enjoy, is – apparently – also a consequence of the fact that the “Ljubljana elite” is left without – drugs…?!”
Further, Požar also states that Ličina has an expansive criminal background. He was last arrested in February this year, in a high-profile operation by the Croatian and Slovenian police officers in the middle of Kamnik, where the police broke up an international association of drug traffickers. “TV Slovenia and POP TV were building him up as a kind of protest star on the streets of Ljubljana during Friday’s protests, even in a media package with the prominent politicians of the opposition, and thus gave him legitimacy. At the same time, both media outlets deliberately kept quiet about his criminal background,” Požar added.
He also wrote that many people “correctly established that RTV Slovenia is putting itself in a similar role as was played by the Serbian state television RTS in the time of Slobodan Milošević, where – for example – they promoted the infamous war criminal Arkan and other “tough guys of the Belgrade asphalt” at the time.” Požar also wrote that the reselling of illegal substances during the COVID-19 epidemic further united the criminal cartels and part of the Ljubljana elite, from the cultural to the political, especially within the transitional left. The former as traffickers, and the latter as the consumers, the consumers of drug trafficking, as the epidemic-related measures that the Janša government introduced (curfew, not being able to go out, and so on…) also damaged the drug trafficking business. We conclude this article with a post that someone published on Twitter: “Whoever believes that Ličina is appearing in the footage on the national television and in the main news shows by chance, first as a cyclist, and now as a terrorist, is incredibly naïve.”