Four cases of police overreach determined during 2021 anti-govt protests

Ljubljana – Police officers acted unprofessionally and used disproportionate force in four separate instances at anti-government protests held throughout 2021, shows an Interior Ministry report on complaints against police work.

The ministry received 25 letters about police conduct during protests in 2020 and 2021, 19 of which constituted complaints against police work and eight of which were handled by a panel appointed to handle police complaints.

Four were designated as warranted.

The various cases were brought by people participating in protests or passers-by.

In one instance, on 21 May 2021, a protester was IDed when she tried to put a sticker on a light pole, a move now designated as disproportionate.

In another instance, on 15 September 2021, the panel found that a police report on the arrest of a juvenile did not correspond to video footage shot at the scene, and determined that use of force against the boy was disproportionate.

Similarly, a complaint by a woman who sustained injuries in December the same year due to use of force by police found that the official police report did not correspond to the facts of the matter.

The Interior Ministry has notified the State Prosecution of its findings and the police force has already taken certain measures.

At the same time, Minister Tatjana Bobnar issued new guidance for how police should act during public gatherings, revoking earlier guidance by her predecessor.

The ministry said the state must “show a certain level of tolerance” even when gatherings are not licenced. “Spontaneous gatherings are an element of a healthy democracy,” it said.