“I personally admire the police officers for responding wisely, smartly, and prudently, to many of the provocations. Which is how it should be. This is expected of them, and they are right to draw the line, in the sense of what will be allowed and how far the protesters can go. Violence needs to be stopped. So far, from what I have seen, I have no criticism of the performance of their work obligations. I wish they would continue with their professional work,” said Vladimir Prebilič, Ph.D., a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences.
One of the “hottest topics” at the moment are the protests which are happening all around the world. Protests have been happening in Slovenia, too, for the last six weeks. If we forget about the death threats on banners, the intentional violations of the law, and other provocations, they were relatively peaceful, without any special excesses. It was only at the last protest that an attempt happened to tear down and break through the security fence; seven people were arrested and written up by the police. But there are growing indications that the members of the Antifa and other far-left movements want to turn the protests into a violent spectacle. One of the organizers of Friday’s illegal protests, Tjaša Prošek, is also worried about this, claiming that the protests will no longer be peaceful. “We know that we must deal with violence and prevent it from spreading. However, the spread of violence results in great problems for the society,” a security expert, Vladimir Prebilič, Ph.D., told us.
A professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences agrees that the right to protest is a fundamental right of the individual and the community in democratic countries. He agrees that any protest should be peaceful, normal, and, above all, a safe way for the citizens to express their disagreement. However, when it comes to violent protests that threaten the property and the lives of others, this is not acceptable, whether it is the members of the Antifa who commit the acts of violence, or anyone else. “Violence must always be condemned. Violence is not something to be resorted to. We know very well how these things escalate,” Prebilič described the situation.
Slovenian police respond wisely, smartly and prudently to the provocations of individual protesters
The protests in Slovenia have been going on ever since the third Janša’s government took power. Cycling protests have been going on for six weeks. Despite the many provocations, according to Prebilič, the police were very professional in their work. The long-term security expert is proud of the Slovenian army and police, which were established during the beginnings of Slovenia’s independence.
“I personally admire the police officers for responding wisely, smartly, and prudently, to many of the provocations. Which is how it should be. This is expected of them, and they are right to draw the line, in the sense of what will be allowed and how far the protesters can go. Violence needs to be stopped. So far, from what I have seen, I have no criticism of the performance of their work obligations. I wish they would continue with their professional work,” Prebilič assessed the work and responses of the Slovenian police to the many provocations of the protesters.
As an example of completely improper protests, he presented the case from 2010, when the student community organized protests against the Mini job Act. At that time, during the protest, granite cubes were flying at the temple of Slovenian democracy, thrown by more or less drunken underage protesters. The author of these lines himself witnessed this happening.
A bad experience from the past has taught the Slovenian police leadership to take a different approach in certain cases. “The preventive crowd was moved away from the house of the National Assembly, which I think is correct. We must try to preserve some dignity,” said Prebilič. He finds the destruction of the temple of Slovenian democracy completely unacceptable. For Prebilič, the National Assembly is a symbol of our country and democracy. The dissatisfaction of an individual can be expressed in each election, where all citizens with the right to vote can express their will. “The method of destruction is unacceptable and should not be allowed. In this case, I think that the police officers did a good job,” Vladimir Prebilič once again praised the police officers for their professional work so far.
For better security, an automated data transfer process among the EU countries should be set up
The security expert assured us that all countries in the EU monitor their security processes of risk and the events “that could, in one way or another, cause some level of danger in one or more countries.” Data is collected, but according to Prebilič, the problem is also among countries, as they often do not exchange the data gathered. Namely, Europol and Eurolex do not have any powers to implement the security data. They can only provide certain information.
The European Union will need to build greater trust between its members in this area and provide information more quickly. Especially information related to national security. “Only then will the organized crime and demonstrations be more easily controlled, so that there would be no more problems with violence.” Therefore, Prebilič called on all EU countries to build mutual trust, in order to make the data transmission mechanism automatic. He himself defines better data exchange as one of the fundamental tasks of and for a secure EU. This would make it easier to prevent the violence we have witnessed at the demonstrations around the world.
Violence is not the answer
Professor Prebilič also warned that, regardless of what is the reason for the protests, we must not allow violence to become a way of resolving open issues. What happens when street violence prevails can be seen in the United States and elsewhere in the world. “The real problems and issues that should be addressed, fade, and the things that should not exist, come to the fore,” Prebilič added.