Andrej Šiško Forms Armed Para-Military Štajerska Guard (Video)

By , 03 Sep 2018, 16:04 PM Politics
Andrej Šiško Forms Armed Para-Military Štajerska Guard (Video) All photos from Slovenka TV Facebook

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STA, 3 September 2018 - A video and photographs emerged on the internet of a group of a few hundred masked men in military outfit, some of them holding assault rifles or axes, lined up in a wooded area. Former presidential candidate Andrej Šiško has confirmed that he is the head of the group, which he calls the Štajerska Guard. 

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Slovenka TV Facebook

According to web news portals, the gathering of the men dressed in olive-green T-shirts and camouflage trousers was held in the wooded Pohorje area near Maribor last Saturday.

Šiško, the head of the non-parliamentary party United Slovenia, has confirmed for the STA the reports that he was the one who lined up the men. He is seen holding an assault rifle in the video.

He said that it was not a para-military unit, but a "volunteer defence group of free men of the country of Štajerska", called the Štajerska Guard.

Šiško, who got 2.21% of the vote in the presidential election last autumn, and who used to head the Maribor football club ultras Viole, explained that "we established the Country of Štajerska" last year.

He said that the country was understood as a "parallel legal system ... which has no direct connection with the Republic of Slovenia, but is not in violation of its legal order".

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Slovenka TV Facebook

 Šiško added that the Slovenian Constitution allowed for the establishment of provinces and the right to self-organisation.

"Since every country must have its defence and security force, which is able to secure public order and peace and control of the borders, we have established the Štajerska Guard."

He confirmed that the group had firearms, and added that in his opinion, they did not need licenses. "The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental human right," he said.

The police said they had been informed about the event, adding that they had already started taking appropriate measures.

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Andrej Šiško Facebook

The General Police Administration told the STA that it was looking into suspicion of several criminal acts, including against humanity, and sovereignty and democratic constitutional order of Slovenia.

The persons involved could also be suspected of public instigation of hatred, violence or intolerance, illegal production and trafficking in arms and criminal acts against public order and peace.

The suspected criminal acts relate both to the event itself and the subsequent publication of the video and comments on social media.

The General Police Administration added that the district prosecution offices in Ljubljana and Maribor had been notified about the case.

A strong condemnation moreover came from outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar, who spoke of absolutely unacceptable spreading of fear and hatred in what is a safe country.

Matjaž Han of the SocDems also called on the relevant authorities to respond, while a very different take on the situation came from Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša.

He suggested the footage was part of a smokescreen conspiracy orchestrated by "the deep state, which has repeated this trick many times". "Everybody is participating, like with IranNLBgate, starting with the president and all the way to the mainstream media," Janša tweeted.

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