Rise in Insults, Threats Aimed at Politicians

By , 21 Jan 2021, 12:17 PM Politics
"Rat", on the gate of Karl Erjavec's home "Rat", on the gate of Karl Erjavec's home Twitter

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STA, 20 January - Several Slovenian politicians have become the target of defamatory statements recently, reflecting heightened political tensions. Some officials have reported incidents to police, others are considering doing so.

In the latest in a series of such incidents, someone spray-painted the word "rat" on the fence gate of Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Karl Erjavec.

The photo of the gate was posted on Twitter by Marjan Šarec, the head of the eponymous opposition LMŠ party, who added a caption reading "we know who called people rats in the 1930s - here we go again, apparently".

DeSUS told the STA that Erjavec had reported the incident to the police, which have confirmed that the investigation has been launched.

A while ago an inscription reading "Lucifer" appeared on the pavement in front of Erjavec's house.

Such insulting or even threatening graffiti, messages or posters targeted at politicians have been a frequent occurrence lately, particularly since efforts to call a vote of no confidence in the government emerged.

Erjavec's bid to become PM-designate was withdrawn yesterday due to Covid-19 infections in parliament, however the opposition still plans to go ahead with the procedure when all MPs are able to vote in person.

Another target of recent political insults or threats has been Branko Simonovič, a DeSUS MP who decided not to contribute his signature to the now withdrawn no-confidence motion.

Posters have appeared on the coast, where Simonovič resides, showing photos of him and coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) MPs with a caption that seemed to be displaying a choice between freedom, symbolised by support for the no-confidence motion, and fear, illustrated with the swastika symbol.

There were also posters focusing on SMC MP Gregor Perič with an inscription reading "Hero or traitor?" that appeared in front of his home and at the coastal town of Izola.

In Ljubljana one could spot posters or fake election campaign adds for SMC MPs with the additional party acronym SDS, alluding to criticism that the SMC is bowing down to the ruling Democrats.

Various graffiti and posters targeting individual MPs emerged already last year. Prime Minister Janez Janša told commercial broadcaster Nova24TV on Sunday that he received some 100 death threats a day, mostly via social media platforms.

Between March, when his government was sworn in, and the end of 2020 the police recorded 18 cases involving threats against government representatives and persons who are in any way related to the government's work. In ten cases perpetrators have been found and some investigations are still ongoing.

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