Protest figurehead sued over policing costs

Ljubljana – Jaša Jenull, one of the figureheads of Friday’s bicycle protests, faces a lawsuit in which the Interior Ministry alleges his responsibility for the costs of policing a 2020 anti-government rally amounting to EUR 2,255, the newspaper Dnevnik and news portal N1 report.

The ministry, represented by the State Attorney’s Office, claims Jenull organised an unregistered rally in the centre of Ljubljana on 2 October 2020, as a result of which the costs of policing were higher than they would have been had the rally been registered with the police beforehand.

The police claim they had to deploy 80 instead of 20 officers as they did not know how many protesters would take part. The suit lists the cost of police “services” such as EUR 18.70 to 25.33 per hour of police officer’s work, EUR 11.30 an hour for service horse and EUR 11.02 an hour for service dog.

The suit details how the protest unfolded, mentioning Jenull as one of the speakers. As proof that he organised the protest the State Attorney’s Office provided a post on his Facebook profile.

Speaking for Dnevnik, Jenull described the lawsuit as a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful protest, denying he organised the protests, which he said were spontaneous.

“Politics has decided one organiser in order to exert financial pressure on the protest movement. Such practice is one of a dictatorship,” he said.

The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy, a group providing legal support to individuals and NGOs facing prosecution for non-violent activity, described the lawsuit as a form of intimidation of protesters.

Friday’s anti-government protesters took to the streets for the 90th week yesterday. The police said today the crowd numbered some 150 people. They said they detected some minor violations.