Member of Parliament Anja Bah Žibert addressed a written parliamentary question to the Government of the Republic of Slovenia regarding the withdrawal of consent for the first lawsuits filed against individuals related to claims for reimbursement. The parliamentary question is published in full below.
In December 2021, the State Attorney’s Office filed the first lawsuit against a well-known organiser of unreported protests. These were claims for reimbursement of expenses to the police at unregistered rallies in the last two years.
I would like to remind you of Article 6 of the Public Gatherings Act, which stipulates: “It is prohibited to organise gatherings or events with the intention of committing criminal offenses or calling for the commission of criminal offenses, or with the aim of causing violence, disturbing public order, or obstructing public transport.”
At the same time, I would like to point out Article 10 of the Public Gatherings Act, which stipulates: “The organiser must organise the rally or event in such a way as to ensure order that the lives and health of participants or other persons or property are not endangered, that public transport is not endangered, and that the environment is not inadmissibly polluted. The organiser must appoint a leader. A leader can be a person who is at least 18 years old and has the appropriate psychophysical abilities to perform the duties of a leader. Given the nature of the rally or event and the expected number of participants, the organiser must provide a monitoring service to ensure order in the event space.”
Pursuant to Article 11 of the Public Gatherings Act, the organiser of a rally must register it at least three days before the day of the rally, and the organiser of an event at least five days before the day of the event.
The fact that these were organised gatherings is shown by the fact that they were called on through social networks, that the content of the rally, the programme and the sound system were prepared. Calls for unreported protests announced that the streets were theirs. Given that, there is no way they can be considered unorganised rallies. Protest organisers also reported in the mainstream media that they were calling for protests. It is also worth mentioning, for example, the photo below, which shows how the organiser of the unregistered protests agrees on the scenario of recording the contribution of one of the unregistered protests.
From March 2020 to December 31st, 2020, the Slovenian police incurred costs of 539,966.90 euros, and from January 1st, 2021, to September 20th, 2021, it incurred 342,683.92 euros. In total, it had as much as 882,650.82 euros in costs for the security of public gatherings, which were not registered in accordance with the Public Gatherings Act.
I emphasise that in the Slovenian Democratic Party we always defend the right to assembly, and we will always defend it. But these were unreported organised rallies, which were also violent. These rallies cost citizens about one school, one nursing home, or two kindergartens. Meetings must be registered, appropriate consents obtained, and the necessary obligations settled. Everyone should settle what they must. And it is not true that people just thought of themselves to go out on the street. The first rallies began before the establishment of this government.
I noticed in the media that on June 2nd, 2022, the Ministry of the Interior withdrew its consent for the first lawsuits filed against individuals related to claims for reimbursement to the police at unregistered rallies in the last two years. Moreover, the Minister of Justice recently announced the start of preparations for the so-called General Law on the Abolition of the Law on Offenses in Protests during the COVID-19 Epidemic.
In view of the above, I ask the Government of the Republic of Slovenia the following:
- In the above-mentioned protests, which were unquestionably organised in accordance with the content, calls for them, the programme with sound system, was Article 10 of the Public Gatherings Act complied with?
- Did the leaders or organisers of the mentioned unregistered rallies have a guaranteed monitoring service?
- Was there any violence, disturbance of public order or disruption of public transport during the unreported protests?
- Do the organisers of public gatherings no longer have to comply with Articles 10 and 11 of the Public Assemblies Act – who is allowed to disregard this?
- How does the Government of the Republic of Slovenia assess the fact that the leaders or organisers of public gatherings, which called for non-compliance with regulations to ensure human health and life, do not need to comply with applicable legislation in the field of Public Assemblies – collect applications, permits, local community directing and security services, consents of health centres and fire brigades, road and path closures, noise studies, etc. …?
- Why does the Government of the Republic of Slovenia believe that the costs of protection due to unregistered organised rallies by Jaša Jenull, Tea Jarc, must now be covered by taxpayers?
Anja Bah Žibert, Member of Parliament