STA, 3 July 2019 - Several monuments to WWII resistance members in Ljubljana's city centre have been vandalised. Police are investigating the incident, in which at least three monuments were sprayed with orange graffiti carrying political messages. President Borut Pahor and Culture Ministry condemned the act and called for tolerance.
Anti-revolutionary and anti-Yugoslavian messages were sprayed onto the 1975 Monument to the Revolution in Republic Square, while the statues of Partisan resistance leader Boris Kidrič (1912-1953) and Toni Mrlak, the pilot of a helicopter that was shot down over Ljubljana during the independence war, were in parts sprayed with orange.
"Vandalising monuments is not freedom of expression but a threat to it," Pahor tweeted, expressing hope that the authorities would investigate this and similar cases and act accordingly.
He called for tolerance that "allows us to present our views freely, while also considering the views and dignity of others.
The Culture Ministry also strongly condemned the incident, noting that the monuments of national and local importance were already being cleaned.
"The contents of the graffiti shows that this is more than just vandalism but enticing of intolerance and hatred," MEP Milan Brglez, former parliamentary speaker, wrote on Facebook.
The incident was also strongly condemned by the coalition Social Democrats (SD), who forwarded the photos of the vandalised monuments to the media.
It said it was "more than obvious" that the incident had been organised. The party said that nobody, regardless of their belief, had the right to vandalise joint monuments that serve as a reminder of the lessons of the past.
The SD said that although the memories of the recent history are very painful to some, vandalism would not bring them peace or unity.
This was echoed by the Left, which said that the monuments that were vandalised represented the achievements of the post-war Yugoslavia, which include workers, housing and social rights. This is also the time when the foundations of the modern public health and education system were laid, it noted.
This is not the first case of vandalism in the city centre. The 2013 monument to the victims of all wars in Congress Square has been vandalised four times already.