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Thousands Of Pensioners Demanded The Resignation Of The Government!

On Wednesday, the 18th of October, the 8th Pensioners’ Rally was held in the centre of Ljubljana. Those gathered at the rally demanded pensions that would allow them to live with dignity in old age. As Pavel Rupar, the leader of the pensioners’ protest movement, announced in the media before the protest, this rally was “sharper”. Among other things, the pensioners tried to personally hand Prime Minister Robert Golob a criminal indictment accusing him of neglecting his duties, and their programme also included a public reading of a class action lawsuit against the national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS), which has lost interest in the plight of pensioners after the infamous “depoliticisation”.

“This will be another signal to Golob, one of the eight, to be cleverer. As my colleague Tina said, every day, our despair grows; every day, our patience is wearing thinner. We also try to calm down the people there (at the protests). So that someone does not explode. But I think it’s only a matter of time before somebody will raise their voice even more,” Rupar said in his latest media appearance.

Even before the rally started, the atmosphere in Republic Square was joyful. The platform in front of the National Assembly was flooded with Slovenian flags and Slovenian songs. One of the organisers of the event once again announced on stage that he would personally serve the Prime Minister with criminal charges for dereliction of duty. The event started with a march through the streets of Ljubljana.

In front of the government offices where they stopped, pensioners took turns chanting, “Mafia, mafia, mafia.” Later, they also shouted: “Thieves, thieves, thieves.” They called on Prime Minister Robert Golob to confront them. However, Robert Golob was nowhere to be seen, so they headed back to Republic Square. In the background, along with whistles and folk songs, Bolero, a work by the French composer Ravel, was also heard.

The sounds of classical music permeated the centre of Ljubljana as the pensioners gathered once again in Republic Square.

“We have come together because we are dissatisfied with the state of the country. We are calling attention to the poor living conditions of pensioners and to the number of people growing every day who are no longer able to live like this,” said the first speaker, Andrej Peterle, the Vice-President of the 1st of October Institute (Inštitut 1. oktober), adding that the number of people who had gathered was very large indeed. “This is proof of our real situation and our determination to fight against the injustices we have been subjected to,” he continued. His speech was followed by the Slovenian National Anthem. Pavel Rupar also stood on stage.

The second representative from the 1st of October Institute, Vice-President Igor Černoga, then took the stage. He began by talking about the situation at the national media outlet. He pointed out that RTV should be “a public good, not a monolith.” “We now have an ideological monster, in which there are 15+ lost souls who think that RTV is their property. That there are ‘f*cking more of them’ there and that this is still their Yugoslavia,” he said. “You lie and steal, especially your capo di banda, comrade Robert Golob,” he continued. “He opens his mouth once and lies twice, he has proved it a hundred times.”

“They say that non-payment of the mandatory RTV contribution is illegal, are your actions illegal too?!” he wondered. “You are the last person who can talk to us about fairness and can accuse us of anything,” he added.

Černoga also pointed out that the demand for the abolition of the RTV contribution has been their demand since the first rally, especially now that the ruling clique has usurped RTV Slovenia, and the only and last pensioner has been thrown out of the programme council. The new leadership has thus taken away their right to participate in the programming content of the national media outlet. This is also why they have the right to demand that the mandatory RTV contribution be stopped.

They have also written a constitutional review on the non-payment of the compulsory contribution and have already submitted it to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia. In the document, they have requested that the legislation requiring the payment of the contribution, which is based on the provision of electrical power supply, be repealed. Compulsory payment without the permission of the owner of the connection is unconstitutional and unfair and leads to civil disobedience.

In addition, they have also written a petition to suspend the payment of the RTV contribution. They also distributed forms for cancelling the RTV licence fee.
A criminal complaint has also been filed against Prime Minister Robert Golob for various offences (from the healthcare collapse to failures in dealing with the floods).
Finally, Pavle Rupar spoke again. “If it had not been for the first two rallies, there would have been no harmonisation of pensions. This is also proved by the fact that only last week, they said that they would not adjust social contributions for inflation. Which means that they have side-lined us pensioners first.”

Then came the moment of truth. The participants applauded to decide whether a new pensioners’ party should be formed. Then Rupar announced with pride: “The result is 21,973 IN FAVOUR! and 3 AGAINST! Thank you for your trust. We take your initiative very seriously!” “It is perfectly democratic to be against. I can see three people clapping against the establishment of the party – from the windows of the National Assembly’s building,” Rupar said wryly.

And thus, Slovenia has a new pensioners’ party, the first since the failed Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (Demokratična stranka upokojencev Slovenije – DeSUS). “After 30 years, we will finally have a party that will really fight for pensioners!” said Černoga.

Ž. K.

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