Vigilantes in Slovenia patrol borders to keep out migrants

/57424e6bf60046e594b4c052bac86b6c

  • Après les #milices qui surveillent les #frontières en #Hongrie, #Bulgarie, #République_Tchèque :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/719995

    ... voici le même type de groupes en #Slovénie...
    Vigilantes in Slovenia patrol borders to keep out migrants

    Blaz Zidar has a mission: patrol along a razor-wire fence on Slovenia’s border with Croatia, catch migrants trying to climb over, hand them to police and make sure they are swiftly sent out of the country.

    The 47-year-old former Slovenian army soldier, dressed in camouflage trousers with a long knife hanging from his belt, is one of the vigilantes who call themselves “home guards” — a mushrooming anti-migrant movement that was until recently unthinkable in the traditionally liberal Alpine state. The name of the self-styled group evokes memories of the militia that sided with fascists during World War II.

    “I would prefer to enjoy my retirement peacefully, but security reasons are preventing this,” Zidar said as he embarked on yet another of his daily foot patrols together with his wife near their home village of Radovica nestled idyllically among vineyards and lush green forested hills.

    Zidar complained that he had to act because Slovenian police aren’t doing their job of guarding the borders from the migrant flow which peaked in 2015 when hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, fleeing wars and poverty, crossed from Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia via Hungary or Croatia and Slovenia toward more prosperous Western European states.

    Zidar said that his six children often join them in the border monitoring mission “because they have to learn how to protect their nation from intruders.”

    Slovenia’s volunteer guards illustrate strong anti-migrant sentiments not only in the small European Union nation of 2 million people, but also across central and eastern Europe which is a doorway into Western Europe for migrants and where countries such as Hungary have faced criticism for open anti-migrant policies. Similar right-wing guards that frequently attacked migrants crossing the borders previously openly operated in Hungary and Bulgaria.

    Police in Croatia — an EU member state that is still not part of the borderless EU travel zone — routinely face accusations of pushbacks and violence against migrants trying to come in from Bosnia. In Slovenia, the authorities are putting up additional fences on the border with Croatia after Italy’s former hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini, threatened “physical barriers” would be built between Slovenia and Italy if the migrant flow wasn’t completely stopped.

    The fiery anti-migrant rhetoric by Salvini and Hungarian President Victor Orban, who was the first to order fences on Hungary’s border with Serbia at the start of the migrant crisis, have resonated among some in Slovenia, an exceptionally calm, nature-loving country.

    Miha Kovac, a Slovenian political analyst who is a professor at the University of Ljubljana, described the anti-migrant guards as “guys with big beer bellies who don’t have much of an education, who didn’t have much of a career, who don’t know what to do with themselves in the contemporary world.

    “They find their meaning in this kind of movement and this kind of hatred toward migrants.”

    Kovac said that in the short run, the right-wing groups represent no real danger to the tiny EU nation. But if the European migrant crisis continues “this kind of movement might become more aggressive.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zte9nDFcACY

    “Slovenia is a country of 2 million and if you would become a kind of immigrant pocket with the population of ... 20, 30, 40, 50,000 immigrants, this could cause quite significant problems,” Kovac said.

    Slovenian authorities don’t seem to mind the self-styled guards patrolling the country’s borders, as long as they don’t do anything against the law.

    “The self-organization of individuals does not in any way imply mistrust of police work,” said France Bozicnik, the head of criminal police at a police station near the border. “It’s just the opposite.”

    “People call us on the phone every day and give us information about suspicious vehicles and suspicious persons, and we sincerely thank them for this information,” he said. “They are welcome to continue with this reporting.”

    Nevertheless, the images of masked men in military uniforms that appeared about a year ago have shocked many in Slovenia, the birthplace of U.S. first lady Melania Trump. The largest volunteer group called the Stajerska Garda was filmed taking an oath to secure public order in the country.

    The group commander, Andrej Sisko, said his goal is “to train people to defend their country and help the military and police at a time of massive migrations from the African and Asian states, mostly Muslims.”


    Sisko, who spent six months in prison for his paramilitary activities, insisted that his guards don’t carry real weapons or do anything illegal.

    “People are mostly supporting us, they are stopping and congratulating us on the streets,” Sisko said in an interview with The Associated Press as four of his men in camouflage uniforms, wearing genuine-looking mock guns, stood watch at his house in the suburb of the northern Slovenian town of #Maribor.

    With the continuing migrant flow in the region, human rights groups have accused authorities in Slovenia, Serbia, Greece, Hungary and particularly Croatia of illegal and forced pushbacks from their borders.

    Witnesses cited by the Border Violence Monitoring Network described Croatian police officers at the border with Bosnia burning clothes, sleeping bags, backpacks and tents in addition to targeting other possessions such as cellphones, cash and personal documents. Croatian officials have repeatedly denied the claims.

    “The police first attacked by shooting up in the air, and then they ordered us to lay down,” said Shabbir Ahmed Mian from Pakistan, adding that after police body searches they “pushed” the group of 15 that included women, children and the elderly into a small van that dumped them back to Bosnia.

    “We couldn’t breathe, there was no oxygen,” he said.

    https://www.apnews.com/57424e6bf60046e594b4c052bac86b6c

    #Stajerska_Garda #Andrey_Sisko
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #xénophobie #racisme #patrouilles #chasse_aux_migrants #anti-réfugiés #milices #milices_privées #extrême_droite #néo-nazis

    ping @reka @isskein @marty

    • Nouvelle reçu via le rapport « Border violence monitoring network - Balkan Region » de septembre 2019 (p. 13 et segg.) :
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-september-2019

      Extrait :

      SloveniaVigilante groups patrol the Slovenian border with CroatiaOn September 17th the Associated Press reported (https://www.apnews.com/57424e6bf60046e594b4c052bac86b6c) on the alarming activities of a Slovenian para-military group called “#Stajerska_Varda”, operating along the border with Croatia. Members of the group are reportedly taking part in vigilante activities, apprehending people-in-transit who try to cross the border, and calling the police to push them back. Until now the groups’ members have not been observed carrying out any violent actions, but their rise in numbers and presence on the border is deeply concerning. A video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2KOSTXp4fA

      ) from October 2018 shows a large number of armed people taking an oath nearMaribor, stating their intent to take border security into their own hands.

      Andrey Sisko, the leader of the far-right group, confirmed that at that time the militia had existed for longer than a year. Sisko himself was arrested and detained (https://www.total-slovenia-news.com/politics/3328-militia-leader-jailed-for-trying-to-subvert-the-constituti) for six months with the charge of “trying to subvert the constitutional order”. He was released in March. The open activities of far-right groups at the border are a telling development, not only for pressure on transit conditions, but also the growth in nationalist logic pervading Slovenia today. Stajerska Varda have stepped into the political void opened up by centre and right-wing politicians who have stoked domestic opinion against people-in-transit. While extreme right activists frame their role as a necessary defense, their actual ideology is explicitly aggressive. As shown in a report (https://eeradicalization.com/the-militarization-of-slovenian-far-right-extremism) by European Eye on radicalization, Stajerska Varda has the nationalist ideas of “Greater Slovenjia” (https://eeradicalization.com/the-militarization-of-slovenian-far-right-extremism) as a reference point, and has inserted itself in a context of growing militarization as part of Slovenia’s right.

      Yet media response to this rise in armed groups presented some worrying attitudes towards the issue. Namely the views of Miha Kovac, a political analyst interviewed by AP for their report, is dangerous in two senses. Kovac dismisses radical groups as “guys with big beer bellies [...] who don’t know what to do with themselves”, and even goes on to allege that the root cause of facism is the presence of migrants in Slovenia. Marking out people-in-transit as instigators falls into a traditional cycle of victim blaming, a route which absolves the role of fear mongering party politics in abetting radicalization.
      As shown by right wing leaders around Europe, such as Matteo Salvini and Victor Orban, open praise for and facilitation of radical groups is an explicit tactic used to build a right wing consensus on the ground. The example of vigilantes operating in Hungaryas early as 2015, suggests that the development of state borders and growth of the extra-parliamentary right go hand in hand. These two strands are evidently complicit in Slovenia, seen especially in the silence at the party and state levels in regards to a self publicized military juntaoperating on state soil. September’s revelations again highlight the liminal space between conservative migration politics and paramilitary fascism. The existence of these activities call into direct question the responsibilities of the Slovenian state, and are a concerning augmentation of the current institutional pushback framework.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/September-2019-Report-1.pdf

    • Patriot games: Slovenian paramilitaries face down migrant ’threat’ on border

      Dressed in camouflage and armed with air rifles, Slovenian paramilitaries moves in formation through woods a stone’s throw from Croatia, patrolling a border zone where the group’s leader says illegal migration is rife.

      The more than 50-strong group, some of whom mask their faces with balaclavas and which includes a handful of women, is led by Andrej Sisko, who also heads Gibanje Zedinjena Slovenija, a fringe nationalist party that has so far failed to win seats in parliament.

      He believes authorities are failing in their duty to protect Slovenia against what he views as the migrant threat, and founded Stajerska and Krajnska Varda (Stajerska and Krajnska Guard) to fill that gap.

      Members of both organistions were participating in the patrol when Reuters TV met them.

      “It is a duty of all of us to ensure security in our own country,” he said. “If state bodies who are paid for that cannot or do not want to ensure security we can help ensure it, that is what we do.”

      Anti-migrant sentiment in Slovenia and other ex-Communist states has risen sharply since 2015, when eastern Europe bore the initial brunt of a refugee crisis.

      Much of the region has since then resisted attempts by EU authorities in Brussels to enforce a continent-wide quota system for new arrivals, which Slovenia has however signed up for.

      According to Slovenian police, numbers of migrants crossing illegally from Croatia to Slovenia - where a razor-wire fence has been erected along stretches of the border since 2015 - rose to 11,786 in the first nine months of this year from 6,911 a year earlier.

      Sisko this year served time in jail for forming Stajerska Varda and urging the overthrow of state institutions.

      He says the group, which generally meets in the border zone at weekends, does not intercept migrants - which he emphasises would be against the law - but advertises their presence to security forces.

      Police told Reuters they were monitoring the group’s behaviour and had not detected any recent illegal activities.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-slovenia-paramilitary/patriot-games-slovenian-paramilitaries-face-down-migrant-threat-on-border-i

    • On en parle ici aussi :
      Patrouille de miliciens d’extrême-droite

      « C’est une honte, il y a la police, l’armée, maintenant cette clôture et il y a même une milice ! », fulmine à son tour Katarina Bernad Sterva, directrice de l’association slovène d’aide aux réfugiés, qui se désespère de la situation à la frontière.

      Depuis quelques jours en effet, des #milices en treillis militaires, visages cachés derrière des cagoules noires, patrouillent aussi le long de la rivière #Kolpa. Dirigée par le leader d’extrême-droite, #Andrej_Sisko,cette #milice se veut un « renfort » à l’armée régulière pour « défendre la frontière » et intercepter les migrants. « Nous sommes le point d’entrée de l’espace Schengen », se justifie Andrej Sisko. « Nous voulons faire passer un message. Nous voulons dire aux étrangers de rester chez eux. La clôture est fragile, elle ne permet pas de stopper les migrants alors nous venons contrôler les abords de la rivière nous-mêmes ».

      La milice d’Andrej Sisko n’a aucun mandat légal. Et visiblement, les villageois s’expliquent mal leur présence.

      Si certains rient à leur passage - « C’est le carnaval quand ils sont là », entend-t-on ici et là dans les villages frontaliers – d’autres comme Katarina Bernad Sterva regarde cette armée parallèle avec une inquiétude grandissante. « Ce qui m’effraie, c’est qu’ils existent. Publiquement, le gouvernement a condamné leurs actions, mais, dans les faits, les autorités ne font rien. Ces hommes sont fous, nous nous attendions à une réaction forte du gouvernement, comme par exemple l’annonce de la dissolution de ces patrouilles ».

      Interrogée par InfoMigrants, la police reste muette sur le sujet. « Je n’ai rien à dire sur ces hommes. Ils n’ont pas le soutien de la police », déclare simplement Vicjem Toskan, l’un des commandants en chef de la police de Koper, à l’ouest du pays.

      Ce soir-là, à Kostel, les amis du café s’interrogent surtout sur le sort réservé aux migrants interceptés par cette milice d’extrême-droite. « On a déjà la police et l’armée pour intercepter les migrants. On a une clôture pour les empêcher de continuer leur route. Eux, qu’est-ce qui vont leur faire, la nuit, dans la montagne ? », s’inquiète Rudy. « Ils portent des masques, ils marchent dans la forêt. J’ai plus peur d’eux que des immigrés qui traversent la rivière », chuchote à son tour, une jeune fille en bout de table. « Si j’étais migrante, je n’aimerais vraiment pas tomber sur eux ».

      https://seenthis.net/messages/791703#message811227