STA, 13 July 2021 - Criminal police are investigating last week's harassment of a number of MPs by anti-maskers in front of the National Assembly, while police security around the parliament building and of parliament staff has also been strengthened, the Ljubljana Police Department said in a written statement on Tuesday.
More MPs than initially reported were a target of harassment and threats, the police said, noting that "the numbers show that these were not individual accidental expressions of people's dissatisfaction with MPs".
The statement does not say how many MPs have been attacked after changes to the infectious diseases act was passed last Wednesday, but a number of MPs publicly said they had been threatened and even spat at by a group of people when leaving the National Assembly.
Speaker Igor Zorčič said on Monday that the National Assembly was considering pressing charges against the attackers, while it had been agreed that security of the National Assembly and its staff should be improved.
The Ljubljana Police Department also said today that the perpetrators had tried to influence how MPs should vote.
According to MP Jožef Horvat from the coalition New Slovenia (NSi), the group that surrounded him wanted to know how he had voted on the changes to the law. He believes Zorčič will not hesitate to take action, but also regrets that deputy group leaders were not unanimous on the matter on Friday when they met with the speaker as, he said, some left the meeting prematurely.
MPs Mojca Škrinjar, Alenka Jeraj and Janez Moškrič from the ruling Democrats (SDS) also spoke today about recent verbal harassments and threats they experienced when entering or leaving the parliament building.
The perpetrators jostled the two female MPs and none of the MPs received help by the police or security, the MPs said.
Jeraj highlighted that such conduct was unacceptable, saying she expected the competent authorities to take action in line with the law.
"We've been raising alarm for a long time, since slogan Death to Janšism started being tolerated, warning what this will lead to," she said, adding that the MPs had also turned to Speaker Zorčič but this came to nothing.
Prime Minister Janez Janša warned on Twitter that violence against MPs had been on the rise.
A parliamentary session or a session of the National Security Council or both would be needed to give the police and prosecution a chance to explain how they plan to curb "this spiral of violence", he said.
Opposition MPs also condemned the violence with National Party (SNS) leader Zmago Jelinčič saying the police should respond immediately and blaming leftist progressive media for the developments.
Marjan Šarec of his eponymous LMŠ party said that the situation was a reflection of today's society where everyone is allowed to do as they please. He said the MPs had not been harassed by leftists, but "boys and girls from all walks of life who joined forces and are now against everything".
Left's deputy group head Matej T. Vatovec sees the reason for the developments in the SDS's year-long actions and their rhetoric of division.
Matjaž Han, the head of SocDems deputy faction, called on his colleagues in parliament to de-escalate the situation, saying there were MPs both on the left and right poles of the political spectrum who incited hate speech. He also dismissed claims by some that anti-government protesters known as Friday cyclists had something to do with this harassment.
The government amended the infectious diseases act after the Constitutional Court declared parts of it and by extension the measures introduced during the epidemic unconstitutional because they gave the government too much leeway in introducing restrictions that affect fundamental rights.
The upper chamber vetoed the amendments yesterday in an unexpected move since no group of councillors had demanded a veto; the National Council simply met to automatically debate vetoes of all major laws to facilitate their prompt implementation.