Demonstrations in Ljubljana: Carnations, Neo-Nazis and a Water Cannon

Bob at Piran Café blog in Slovenia shares this photograph in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool. On his blog, he explains:
This [photograph of a policeman behind a riot shield] was taken at about 6 pm last night, shortly after protesters were giving carnations to police officers stationed in front of Parliament. About four hours later police used a water cannon in Slovenia for the first time.

I’m sick as a dog and didn’t stay in the chill and drizzle for very long, so this is a rundown based mostly on local press accounts of what was, somewhat astonishingly, the second demonstration in a week here in Slovenia to turn violent.

Upwards of 10,000 people gathered in Ljubljana yesterday, one of seven Slovenian cities where hastily organized demonstrations took place to protest what’s perceived as widespread fraud and corruption, austerity measures, and the economic reform policies of the center-right government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa.

More here at Piran Café blog.


  1. history is desperately trying to recreate itself in that region of the world – and not a good patch of history  -sigh-

    1. Laibach is just an German name for Ljubljana, has nothing to do with neo-nazis. AND!!! Those ‘neo-nazis’ / hooligans on demonstrations were police PROVOCATEURS –  there are proofs about this.

  2. Theres plenty of videos that show that it only turned violent when the group of about 40 hooligans moved into the center of the protests in an organized testudo formation and directly attacked the police themselves in a synchronized manner, using their own tactics against them. To which the cops promptly responded with the tools they had and the entire thing was over in less than an hour. The rest of the people attending had to retreat in the process.
    There still were 10000 peaceful protesters there (who apart from giving them flowers, were also shouting out slogans calling for higher wages for police officers) that like mentioned, have lost the headlines due the incidents that occurred. Before it got really violent anybody who started provocating riot police was whistled out and booed.

      1. On Friday yes, apart from the tear gas I don’t think they hurt any innocent people. Earlier in the week there were protest/riots in our second largest city Maribor (directed mainly towards their city’s mayor on account of corruption and not towards the general government) which had much more hostility in the very start both sides and did end with excessive force being used.
        Reflecting on what had happened in Maribor, realising that no good comes from violence and not wanting to be painted the black, both sides were much better prepared. The union of police officers made a sympathetic announcement that they’re just poorely paid employees which confided with the protests and had much better organiziation. Amongst the protesters, which were now a much broader section of the public with many different messages, a ‘how to protest’ pamhlet was handed around, telling people not to be violent or drink alcohol.
        There are now a bunch of conspiracy theories floating around that the skinheads (they had a banner with a celtic cross) were purposely organized by the right to delegitimize the protests…or maybe they just got tired of playing Call of Duty and fighting at soccer games and wanted some ‘real action’.

  3. Protesting “widespread fraud and corruption, austerity measures, and the economic reform policies of the center-right government?”

    Welcome to everywhere! You must be the middle class. Do come in. 

  4. The austerity thing though… uhg, it kills me.  We are so completely screwed.  The options are ugly and uglier.  

    If you don’t implement austerity, people will simply stop loaning you money.  Any country considering austerity is by definition living hand to mouth off of loans.  If the lenders stop lending, your government shuts down.  The second you get into a place where you borrow to pay for huge portions of the budget you are at the mercy of those who are willing to lend.  A country like Greece could declare they will pay nothing and drop out of the EU, but while they wouldn’t have the debt, it wouldn’t fix the fundamental problem that the government needs to borrow money to run, and no one at that point would be willing to lend it.

    If you do implement austerity, it is going to shrink your economy and drop your revenue… leading to further debt.  The more brutal the austerity, the more your revenue and growth gets hacked.  People rightly ask what the point of cutting spending and raising taxes is if you still end up deeply in debt and getting worse.

    This is how it is going to be for a very long time.  We no longer have population growth, and without population growth, overall growth shrinks.  Add on top of that an aging population gets expensive to take care off, and you are totally screwed.  I sympathetic to the austerity protests, but I just don’t see the solution other than to jump into a time machine and cut spending and grow revenue in a time when the economy could have handled it.

    1. If you don’t implement austerity, people will simply stop loaning you money.

      Well, it’s really all about assigning blame and asserting National Virtue; it has almost nothing to do with fixing the problem.

        1. What exactly are you proposing?  Sharia law has banned compound interest in a number of Muslim states.  It doesn’t suddenly make a utopia with a vibrant economy.  Governments cost money to run.  If you spend more than you make, you need to get the money from somewhere.  That somewhere will stop giving it to you if they think you can’t or won’t pay it back.  I don’t see a magic way around it besides spending less than you make.

          1. A major point of Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years, is that we have a political economy, and a moral economy, in which paying debts is elevated above all other considerations, including sustainable economics and human survival.

            I’m assuming that people in Slovenia produce more than they consume, since with brief localized interruptions, it’s generally been the case that people produce more than they consume ever since the invention of agriculture. It’s possible that the government is wasting resources — but then, that would mean that reducing government expenditures would help the economy, not hurt it.

            No, this is clearly the all-too-familiar pattern of neoliberalism, in which national governments refinance their debts while agreeing to plans that require them to restructure their economies, and the restructuring, by design, reduces them to debt peonage. It will never be possible to pay off those debts.

            The available solutions are, on the one hand, to refuse to pay, and on the other, for international finance (concentrated in wealthy nations, especially the US) to write off the debts.

            These are not easy solutions. But austerity measures are the opposite of solutions.

          2. You can certainly write off debt, but there is a reason why people don’t do it.  If people think you won’t pay, and they won’t lend to you.  You solve the temporary problem of having debt, but if your government is running a budget deficit (even ignoring interest), you didn’t save yourself.  Now you physically have no capacity to pay for your government.  Your workers won’t get paid, and one assumes they will probably stop working.  You won’t be able to pay out entitlements and will contract your GDP.  Hell, even if you run a balanced budget you will be screwed because tax revenue doesn’t come in evenly and people use loans as a bridge.  

            You will be screwed.  It isn’t like no one has thought of this “lets just not pay” idea. The problem is that the consequences of not paying is that people will simply stop lending, and if your government can’t survive without lending, you are screwed.  If governments had the capacity to run balanced budget and so didn’t need loans, they wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.

          3.  I have an idea! Governments shouldn’t spend more than they make. I like all my nice social programs, and I am willing to pay taxes for them.
            Next step, getting all the governments in the world to do this so corporations won’t have a choice but to pay enough taxes to the governments they rely on to allow them to do business.

  5. It is a shame the legitimate protest of the Slovenian people against horrible and widespread corruption and fraud has been labeled as a neo-nazi protest.

    I am disappoint.

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