STA, 19 October 2020- Ljubljana's city councillors adopted on Monday a statement condemning any activities or gatherings of paramilitary or nationalist groups in the capital. The opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) protested, unsuccessfully proposing that the item be removed from the City Council's agenda.
The statement, proposed by the councillors of the Left, caused a clash of opinions, with SDS and NSi councillors arguing the Left was out to provoke a harsh politics-fuelled debate.
While they argued that the statement was unnecessary because the field was already regulated in detail by the protection of public order act, the head of the Left's group of councillors Milan Jakopovič said this act did not prevent activities by paramilitary and nationalist groups on private property and gatherings, which is why hospitality needed to be denied to them in no uncertain terms.
The Left's argument that a symbolic gesture is necessary was echoed by Maša Kociper of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), who spoke of a "group of individuals who think they can execute powers that are reserved for the army and police in any normal and democratic country".
Martina Vuk of the SocDems agreed, arguing the City Council is the body that can say on behalf of the city that such groups have no place in Ljubljana.
Zvone Čadež of the SDS protested, saying that an honest list of this sort would also need to include members of antifa groups "who sliced car tires around Ljubljana on the eve of Statehood Day".
"Add to the list the people yelling that PM Janez Janša needs to be killed, which was documented, add the artists exposing their asses in the middle of Prešeren Square, add the people pulling cameras from TV cameramen's hands, add people with a poor command of Slovenian who are yelling at police officers that they should return to their villages," Čadež said.
Mayor Zoran Janković tried to calm down the debate and urged the councillors to adopt the statement together with the message that everybody in Ljubljana lives together and respects differences.
He welcomed the recent legislative changes adopted by parliament in a bid to limit the activities of self-styled militias. "But the fact that they went to the presidential palace and that they tried to get into parliament is an offence against both institutions," Janković added.
While the two NSi councillors decided for obstruction, the statement was adopted without official debate in a 31:0 vote.