The Slovenia Times

Concerns raised over video of masked men threatening migrants

Migrants in front of the Ljubljana asylum centre. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

A video of a group of masked men threatening violence against migrants that appeared on social media the past weekend has caused upset in Slovenia. While police are looking into the matter, the country's top officials condemned the alleged incident.

The video shows the men, wearing what looks like neo-Nazi attire, tying an alleged migrant to a street lamp post with transparent foil. Later, the man is filmed with his face covered by a T-shirt, a noose around his neck and a sign reading "remigration" in his hand.

Remigration is a policy advocated by far-right groups and political parties, and one of the central positions of the Identitarian movement. In Slovenia, Democrat (SDS) MP Branko Grims has called for remigration policy.

Going under Slovenian Defence Guard, the group in the video calls for "rescue operations" against migrants and expresses support to an alleged victim of what police have said is a fabricated story of a rape committed by migrants in Ljubljana's Tivoli park.

The authorities are investigating whether the video is real or fake.

Ludvik Kastelic of the Ljubljana Police Directorate said on 20 May that the police had not received any official reports of violence - which could mean the torture was play-acted, but they were investigating the matter thoroughly and would take appropriate action based on the findings.

He stressed that any gathering, organising or expression of intolerance and hatred in the manner depicted in the video is unacceptable and contains elements of criminal conduct.

Allegations of rapes

While saying they were aware of the increased security risks related to migrants' accommodation in Ljubljana's asylum centre, police pointed out that the number of criminal offences in the capital has been about 8% lower in 2024 than in the previous year.

The number of crime cases is not increasing and is comparable to or even lower than in the pre-Covid period, the Ljubljana police said. The vast majority of perpetrators are Slovenian citizens, while third-country nationals are predominantly from the Balkans.

Calling for tougher measures against illegal migration, the SDS in the past alleged that the police recorded a 170% increase in rapes committed by illegal migrants, which police denied.

President urges zero tolerance

Condemning the video, President Nataša Pirc Musar called for zero tolerance for violence and indifference.

"We simply need to draw attention to these things. It always starts with verbal violence, but a word is like a stone, wherever it falls it leaves a trace. The biggest responsibility for non-violence lies with politicians," she said during a visit to the Novo Mesto General Hospital on 20 May.

Justice Minister Andreja Katič likewise strongly condemned any expression of violence or hatred, as well as "village guards" or similar forms of self-organisation.

Similar incidents in the past

Slovenia passed changes to two laws in 2020 to curb the activities of self-styled militias or "home guards" after several incidents involving the Štajerska Guard, a self-styled militia.

Its leader, Andrej Šiško was sentenced to eight months in prison in March 2019 for trying to subvert the constitutional order through armed resistance after he threatened the then Prime Minister Miro Cerar in January 2017, established the "state of Štajerska", and founded the Štajerska Guard militia in September 2018.

Wearing army fatigues and typically replica weapons, the group patrolled the border with Croatia vigilante-style. They also visited a police station in May 2020 to demand explanations from officers for visiting the owner of the land provided for their camp. They posted videos of their activities on Facebook.

Legislation now prohibits groups from patrolling the border or obstructing the police in doing so, and bans people from wearing or displaying arms or wearing army fatigues or shoes that mimic the appearance of the uniformed staff.


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