Amnesty International Slovenia has commented issue with the police demand from protesters to show IDs, stopping potential protesters in the street and limiting the access to Republic Square in Ljubljana, saying that the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in the country have become threatened.
“Participating in gatherings and their organisation are rights, not a privilege. Exercising these rights does not require permission from the state,” the organisation quoted its director Nataša Posel in a recent press release.
According to Posel, launching proceedings against protesters who display slogans which do not incite discrimination, hostility or violence against a certain group is a violation of their right to freedom of expression, as well as freedom of assembly.
She noted that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stipulated that there must be clear incitement of discrimination, hostility or violence for this to happen.
“An intention to incite violence against the prime minister cannot be detected in such messages,” Posel said in what is probably a reference to “Death to Janšism” slogans over which police proceedings are being conducted against eight persons.
The Amnesty International Slovenia director allowed for the possibility that some understand such slogans as insulting, but she added that freedom of speech protected such forms of political expression.
The organisation is also concerned about people being stopped and IDed by the police as they were allegedly heading for a protest in Ljubljana on 19 June.
It believes this is violation of the right to assembly, and that the police should “avoid acts which could be understood as measures for intimidating or harassing people who want to exercise their right to peaceful assembly”.
Amnesty International Slovenia also assessed that the authorities were blocking the access to Republic Square, as a symbolic and a practical venue for protests from the aspect of anti-epidemic measures, without a justified reason./ibna