Posted by on 13 Mar 2012. Filed under Current Affairs, Top news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Gorilla Protesters Get Serious and Set Up Civil Initiative

The Gorilla protest organisers are not giving up on their efforts to change the system and eliminate crony ties between politicians and financial groups as much as possible, but now that the elections are over, they might find it increasingly tough to get their voice heard.

Gorilla protest (c) The Daily.sk

The last protest in Bratislava just one day before the elections got a bit messy again, with police eventually using water cannons and tear gas on a small group of over-zealous demonstrators. This trouble-making faction of the group was clearly identifiable already at the gathering point on Namestie Slobody earlier in the afternoon. A total of 19 demonstrators were eventually arrested in the incident, which the organisers claim involved excessive police force and brutality.

Now the protest organisers are getting serious with a whole range of plans that they will implement through a new initiative they have set up called Civil Movement – Protest Gorilla. Peter Pcolinsky from the initiative informed TheDaily.sk that the idea is to provide citizens with information about the state of society, affairs and corruption, as well as to act as a kind of central “voice” in relation to the Slovak government and Parliament.

The Protest Gorilla initiative is already preparing an internet portal that will provide up to date news about political affairs, society and public administration, with a blog so that people can submit their own thoughts. The determined activists have also launched their own internet TV, which will be used for broadcasting discussions, reports and promoting the initiative’s events.

The organisers also plan to hold public discussions on a regional level and so are currently putting together expert teams on various areas in the hope of weeding out “the apathy of Slovaks about topical issues and invoke hope in them that with our concentrated efforts we will be able to participate as active citizens in the running of the country” states the Protest Gorilla press release.

The founders of the initiative are hoping the number of volunteers will rise along with the voluntary contributions they receive, because that is the only source of financing for all of the above plans.

40 Comments for “Gorilla Protesters Get Serious and Set Up Civil Initiative”

  1. StaryJazvec

    The guiding principle of Slovak politics since ’89 and before is “Nobody goes to jail”. You send down one, well then it starts to look pretty bad for some of the others…

  2. Thanks SJ, but it is you guys that have to organise these debates. We can only provide the fuel. Anyway, what a lot of people fail to realise about the Gorilla protests and everything around this case, is that people themselves are now more aware of what is happening, and you can be sure that politicians will be much more cautious. This in itself is a huge step forward for Slovakia. Given the makeup of parliament, including the liberal and watchful presence of Ordinary People and the SaS parties, I think Slovakia might actually be ready to mature institutionally. Some signals are even coming from PM Robert Fico that maybe now his ego has been fully satisfied with the landslide victory and so is “maturing like a fine wine” as Kalinak put it. Someone will have to be the sacrificial lamb for Gorilla, but everything depends on if the protesters remain organised in the civic association and push for legislative changes etc. and for liability to be imposed on the actors. Some believe the focus should be put on changing the system, with the issue of criminal liability coming secondary, because as you say SJ, it will most likely not come to real convictions anyway.

  3. StaryJazvec

    Nobody will convince me in a million years that the Gorila protests are the product of a grass-roots type protest organization anymore than 99% was. My prediction: the elections are over, these protests will die out real quick. Prediction No. 2: in five years’ time there will be zero criminal convictions based on the gorila files, anyone fancy a fiver on this? Anyway, a very instructive debate, you should organize more like this, John.

    • unheard voice

      Thanx John :) Nice to know that people at The Daily actually listen to their readers and take notice of their inputs. Class A!

  4. Mike

    Thank you for word of appreciation Dave and also for you point of view UV. Dave I realized from one of your topics you must have been pro-soldier or policeman, so you know what I am talking about. I agree with both of you that some of police videos should go public, but unfortunately I am a very small fish to change things :] And as you know….there is no other choice than being a loyal team player in such a organization, because the man next to you can save your ass one day :] Peace and respect guys, have a nice rest of the day all of you !

  5. Dave Crawford

    Thanks for being so honest Mike. I know police officers all over the world face danger every day as part of their lot and non of you signed up for riot control. In SK, just as in the UK, US, Germany etc, there will be groups and individuals who use the cover of a legitimate demo to attack the police. Its good that the SK police use video but why isn’t it made public? Police the world over are subject to attack for their actions, if they have vids that justify their actions then they should make them public. Just for my own interest, do the rank and file police officers have an organisation through which you can get your own, not the senior officers, story out to the public? and is there a totally independant Police Complaints body that can make rulings, either way?
    And finally, as the son of a police officer, would you please extend my appreciation to all of your colleages for their dedication and bravery in doing such a difficult job.
    No George M – I am not butt kissing. I was a soldier, everything was black and white. The police have to operate in shades of grey – not a job I would do, in fact my dad wouldn’t here of it.

  6. Dave Crawford

    Thanks for your input Mike. Are the police videos of the incident in the public domain?
    FYI I have faced 400gm rocks, petrol and nail bombs, home made mortars and gunfire. Despite this extreme provication we only targeted those acting illegally and took great care not to prevent those demonstrating in a peaceful manner from exercising their rights.
    The only projectiles I have seen so far on any of the videos were drink cans and PET drinks bottles – thats why I ask if the police vids are public.
    The video of what appers to be baton guns being fired is not clear but it would appear thatone of the officers made no effort to aim the weapon, firing from the hip – of course you can not tell if it was a baton round he fired .

    • Mike

      Honestly said I was not in the duty that day Dave. I was in some Gorila actions before so I was writing more generally how things works. I do not think that police material is public. It is used for identifying possible extremists, hooligans and people acting against law on both sides of course. I just want to say, that every single person in Police force is well aware how serious the situation is to jeopardise his own job, career and possible legitimate punishment whan acting beyond his competence.

      • unheard voice

        The video should be made public as announced by the media and officials. I’m really keen on seeing it, as with my own eyes, my own experience, I never saw a single rock. Just like Dave said. There were too many taken away and hurt if you ask me, who were innocent. Among them almost me as well. I made a decision after last Friday. My weapon from now on is my camera and I want to buy an amplifier to try and keep the crowd calm. I still want to be there, but I also want to help protect the innocent. I would like to act as a medium that speaks to the people in a friendly voice. To remind them that you are here for our protection as well. Although, you also must admit, if you know the laws… 29.02 was unconstitutional. And about Friday, I’m not sure, but I incline to believe it was unconstitutional as well, as the article 28 of the Slovak constitution says (in my free words, as I don’t remember it exactly) no gathering has to be announced. Another article says, gatherings are not allowed closer than 50 meters from official buildings or buildings in which our officials are having a meeting. Sooooooo…. can you please prove me wrong? Thank you for your input. Peace and love!

  7. Mike

    Just few notice from my side : We are identified by the number on the back of our helmets. Whole action is commanded by a single superior commander, so there is no ” single bad cop action”. Whole event is eagerly recorded not only from the side of public, media but also from police force to bring consequences on someone, who brakes the rules and did not obey the commands, or is acting violently without reason. Topics about seniors and women beaten till unconscious, innocent people which heads are like waterballons because of cops jumping on them and many more of this bullshit are stupid propaganda from someone, who is getting some cash in reward for writing this non-sense. And last info – would like to see your reaction when someone will throw a 400 gram heavy rock aiming your head with high possibilitty of injuring you seriously or even killing you. All of you will probably give him bunch of flowers :]

    • unheard voice

      Mike, I don’t agree to violence in any way… total flower power :D I am not saying, that the police should not act… however, I would suggest a different approach… for example, have a few guys inside the crowd and take the ones responsible one by one.. “quiet mode”. Me, as part of the crowd would definitely be on your side in that case and maybe even help you drag them out. I can’t say everybody would react like me, but I guess most of the people would, as they are in danger of getting hit as well. I’m not on anybody’s side on this one. I hate violence and I don’t care if it is from the side of the police or the demonstrators… violence in any form is just wrong to me.. But is it ok to beat up a 100 people because one or two idiots threw rocks? I would like to be on your side, but what happened there was just too damn wrong… too much violence. I would agree if more people would have thrown the blocks… bu I didn’t see a single one. Ok, I can’t see everything, but I don’t think there were that many aggressors for you to run into the whole crowd. I’ve seen footage of the guy with a cracked up head. He was in the front row and got a blow from the teargas. I think he had enough then. Why did you guys beat him up some more??? :-o

      Sorry, just red your further comments. As already said, I admire the ones who control their nerves and act professional. Respect! But on that day, the coppers were animals. What about the riots in Greece? 100 000 people with firebombs and the police only armed with a helmet, gas mask, riot shield, baton. That’s it. Why all the teargas, flash-ball, “soft” explosives? Do you personally think it was an adequate reaction? Most of the people had their hands above their heads! Me personally, I was thrown to the ground by one of the masked riders and dragged to the fence by three of them. I never did anything, I never threw anything, even when it happened I just stood there peacefully with my cellphone recording the action. Why was I attacked and almost taken away? Why did they let me go than? Was it because I recorded my own actions as innocent? Just trying to make some sense out of it all. If you are one of the good guys among cops, than I thank you for your help, protection and professional service. I salute you as a son of a high-ranking long serving army official in service.

  8. Dave Crawford

    No George, I am a bit of a hybrid, varying shades of right wing tempered with a socialist conscious. I have seen the worst of most political and religious extremes and try to have a right leaning, centre of the road approach to most things.

  9. Dave Crawford

    Once all the insults and bananas have landed let us look calmly at the facts:
    1. If police officers were deployed with no means of indentification then an offence has been committed by the Slovak Government under the provisions of the UCHR.
    2. If the said unidentifiable officers subsequently assaulted individuals then further offences have been committed.
    3. Police officers or members of the armed forces who do not wear, carry or declare their indentity are committing an illegal act.
    4. An officer who fails to indentify him/her self when asked to do so is committing an offence.
    5. Any police officer or member of the armed forces committing one of the above offences is no longer protected by the conditions of his/her employment.
    6. The use of force by civil police forces must be proportional to the real ( not imaginary) threat they face and the senior officers in charge are personally responsible for their decisions – no hiding behind the ” I was following orders” excuse.
    7. Any police officer or member of the armed forces who complies with an illegal order with regard to the execution of their duties is guilty of an offence.
    So UV I suggest your group submit an official complaint to the President of SK, outlining your grievances and give him fair notice ( 28 days) and after that present the matter to the ECHR if he does not respond, in full.
    To both Losgar and UV, in most countries both the police and armed forces take an oath to protect the people. In the SK, almost every appointment, including the commander in chief of the police is politically driven. Untill this is changed the police hierarchy will always defer to their political masters rather than observe the law of the land. Sorry, but you guys let it happen, I know some of you are trying to force change but until the police, judges, prosecutors and the military are totally depoliticised the ruling elite can and will do they want in the safe knowledge that their backs are covered by their own nominees.
    George M quite correctly pointed out that until your movement can be measured in the 10s or 100s of thousands, non the the current “politics” will take any notice of you, they will all brand you as ” a few, violent, protestors”. The tame SK press don’t help – their edited highlights didn’t show the special police units in action or the use of gas and batons.
    UV you and your friends have got balls, something that is in short supply amongst the rest of the population, and I wish you all well and success in your efforts, but it will be a long hard struggle.
    Power to the people!

    • George M

      Not a member of the Tooting Popular Front are you DC ?

    • unheard voice

      Dave, that is a rich and truthful reply to my comments. Thanks for your support. It is all being done, however the official investigations claim, that everything went by the book. They never took any videos from the people who stood there, never asked them to tell their story.. no nothing… That supports your claim about politicization of all the police, military, etc. I completely agree and I never said otherwise. We are just at the starting line. And we are getting results… not too big, but still very needed for us to grow. Numbers are vital, but I think that just now, after this assault, people are really starting to wake up. Let’s see where it goes from here. And yes, we all know the road to victory is a long and painful one, surrounded by oppression, fear, insults…. I could go on like this forever. But we are determined to still do this. Thanks again for your comment and also for your support :) I need to admit, the sentence stating… you and your friends have got balls … sent me laughing to the ground :D The protest organizers are working on an internet TV and blog, and many other projects like a newspaper delivered straight to your mailbox….. bla bla bla… to start informing the masses. I think they took a good path, now we need to keep walking it and jump all the obstacles. Once people are informed better, I think we do stand a chance. As you said… power to the people! Let’s do this! Love over hate!

  10. George M

    Yea right BG, I bet Losgar has `THIS END IS UP` added over his neck tattoo !

    UV, people here are still afraid of the Police …and Various Ministers do nothing to help change that situation, it is too their advantage to keep the masses oppressed . The Slovak people all need a good kick up the ass ….but no one will actually do it . As for the Media , all they are after is making a Story to massage their huge journalistic ego …..this is Eva Bonkinova , television Markiza !

    • Losgar

      This end up, not: This end is up. Otherwise it’s not making any sense.

      Or it does make sense to you, dummy?

      • George M

        :-)

        Not brightest commenter , not the brightest in English grammar or understanding English wit , but a typical Slovak policeman .

        BTW, UV appears to be constantly agreeing with me , not you dummy !

      • unheard voice

        yes, George, I agree with YOU! …in some points, but I also add, that there is still hope and a way out. You know, as they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Let’s keep that in mind.

    • unheard voice

      :D haha… I just LOLed :D That is true, but it all needs to start somewhere. It’s always easy to say… that is so and there’s nothing we can do about it. The problem is, too many people think this way.

  11. George M

    In some respects I admire you UV in your protest actions , in others, I believe you are Stupid to believe that such a protest, of so few people will have any effect on this country or the Establishment . They just row out the Police thugs and the paid each month mercenaries in uniform like Loghead, to protect their interest . The problem is if you want change you need thousands not a few hundred students, actors, authors and Uni professors .

    Over million people voted for the bribes of Robert Fico and take the country back 20 years, as their only way of protest against corruption in Government . Bonkers ! Rather like giving the keys to the mad asylum, to the inmates !

    • unheard voice

      Yes, you are right about that George. A 1000 or so people can not make a difference. Not now, not ever. I also don’t see how they could. It is not my belief that we will punch a hole through the law and make our own new government… I may seem naive, and yes, in nature I am an optimist. But I try to see things from above, to see the facts, not fiction. The actions are just beginning to unfold. There is nothing we can learn from, it’s normal to make mistakes in the beginning. But a protest almost never starts as a mass riot, does it? It takes time for people to realize what the people are actually fighting for and that is the point. If nobody starts, nothing will change… ever!

      The biggest problem in my opinion is information. If we do not provide truthful information to the masses, nothing will change. I truly hope this is just the start. I always want to witness what is going on and that is why I join the demonstrations. I want to see with my own eyes. To know, to report, to inform… Don’t care for the lies in the media. The organizers are starting a web-TV for starters along with an information portal that is free to opinions and hopefully will provide facts.
      And I may be stupid in a way, yes, I am a total wacko, nut-head. But whatever names you or anybody calls me, I stay true to myself and that is what counts. Hope everybody will realize one day. People here, mostly the elderly don’t get the information they need to make a good decision, their opinions are formed by the media, and we all know how the cookie crumbles there. Well, in the end it is all about what information you feed to the sheep. Because in 98.9 % they don’t bother going for it on their own. Bonkers! ;)

  12. The Big Guy at the Back

    Say George , was that two, three or bunch of banana you fed Losgar then?

    BTW John …The police Id number is tattooed on the back of their necks ….. normally.

    All policemen have to have it done :-)

  13. George M

    Why unheard voice? Because Slovakia is full of chimps and neanderthal thugs most of which when they have a little authority , that like to swing the batten between their legs .

    I note that Losgar, now claims to be a protect and serve policemen …as first he was an intellectual, then it was a historian that does not really fit the profile of a booby ….Still perhaps someone throw him a banana and lets see if he takes the bait ?

    • Losgar

      How stupid and ignorant you are george m.!!
      /I use small letters because you are a small man/

      Apologize to UV. He was out there, fighting for a better world and you keep picking on his English? Shame on you!!

      UV thanks for sharing with us!! No hard feelings!! Peace!!

      • George M

        Loghead, That`s a bit rich from someone who takes money each month in bribes, to actually protect the Establishment , rather than us the public . BTW. We call policemen pigs or the filth in the UK .

        Until recently , Slovak MP`s enjoyed full immunity from most legal acts …why are they so different from the rest of us ? If you had any real morals Losgar, and saw what you saw at the protest , you would have reigned as a bobby on the spot and joined in the protest . Fact is, you would rather let someone else do your work for you, no ? . How Slovak is that ? Easy to say No Hard Feelings and Peace bro , when you the one who still has legal control of the big stick to thump people and being paid for the pleasure of hurting your own kind !

        I purposely did not pick up on UV`s written English and only his feel for the language by way of explanation , but trust you to get all over sensitive as you write comments like a gibbering monkey .

        BTW, UV was protesting for a better Slovakia, not a better world, although most Slovaks believe Slovakia is the only world on this planet. I guess we would all need a passport to get into your very small world eh Loghead ?

        • unheard voice

          That is true what you say George. However, I personally do realize that the world does not end at our borders :D I’ve spent some time in the UK, in Scotland, in Germany, Austria and Greece while in University and after. I know that the situation is same or similar in almost all modern states. And yes, I am trying to do my best to make a difference… within me and in Slovakia. Think global, act local is my motto. No need to start word play fights, is there? ;) Still, thanks for your support. We are all one and the same. What makes me angry, is that not everybody likes to see things this way. I can’t change that. But I can still try. If 1 in a 100 does realize what is going on, that makes me a happy man.

  14. unheard voice

    Losgar, thank you very much for your voice too, we must be heard!

    I must say that the policeman who did not wear a mask were very peaceful, friendly and did a very good and professional job on keeping order in the crowd (except for a very few exceptions) for which I hereby show my respect to them and thank them sincerely.

    I also feel very sorry for you guys, because you are just doing your job and you get the most insults. Although, yes, people were showing the middle fingers too for a while, but they were angry because they felt that their constitutional rights were broken. This however was no reason for the special unit to break heads open and hunt for people in a closed corridor. For what is the most horrifying fact, CHILDREN and ELDERLY were in the crowd too… If we in Slovakia have 60-80 year old extremists, than that is a very funny one :D I never knew that old people are that vital in this country.

    I hope you do understand that the people are fighting for you too, for a better chance in life and for stopping corruption. We, the protesters stand with you. We know, you do not have a chance to say NO to your orders, otherwise you’ll end up jobless. We don’t want that! We want a change, so this does not have to be repeated with more casualties and more blood.

    I have to be very critical only over the masked assault unit that was brutally beating on civilians for no good reason and the officials still say everything went by the book.
    How in the world was this by the book? Some even say we were lured into a trap in order to get the footage needed so the officials can discredit the protest movement against the “Gorillas” that are GODS among humans. How can anybody in the democratic world still have immunity??? Are they not responsible for their actions? If they kill somebody, will they not go to prison? If that is so, I don’t want to live in this state anymore and I don’t see how anybody does.

    Also, can you please explain to me, if you really are one of the policemen, under which law we were supposed to leave the area? Is the constitutional law not above other laws?

    Article 28 from the Slovak constitution is the right of free assembly, which states that no assembly needs to be reported to officials.

    What about the freedom of movement and freedom of speech?
    Why didn’t any policemen there wear identification numbers? Is this all still by the book? If I am attacked by an unidentified individual, is it not my right to defend myself? I was there, recording it all while I was pushed to ground and dragged away from the cameras. I did not resist, however they let me go once they realized I was filming it. Still everything ok?

    Serve and protect!

  15. unheard voice

    Also, here is one video of the full “incident” in slow motion and in one peace, no cuts. Are people holding up V- for victory fingers above their heads extremists? Well I don’t really agree to that and I’m upset about the leaked untruthful information into the public.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URMvQ8PNtzs&feature=related

    Here the footage of the rubber projectile weapon (02:38):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njya-3TQqMU

    Go on, please watch.

    • losgar

      I was one of the policemen. I agree what unheard voice said. The protesters were very peaceful and were showing V-shaped fingers.
      The problem was that we could see the fingers from sideway so we thought they were showing us f*** off.

  16. unheard voice

    Hi and hello to everybody. I just wanted to reply to this article as I was one of the so called “trouble-making faction”. Yes, I was there and I do not call myself an extremist. I have a masters, I never ever hurt anybody and I have never had a problem with the police. This was no messy incident. A special force commando (trained for fighting organized crime) was used against the people of Slovakia who just wanted to have their voices heard. Our constitutional rights have been broken that day and on top we have been assaulted by our own government. The “police officers” had their faces covered. They had no badge of identification, no number, no nothing! Nobody knows who gave the orders to use the means that were used. People in front of the police were singing the Slovak anthem and were sitting peacefully on spot with their hands above their heads. If there was a small group of trouble makers, the police should have taken them one by one. However, also the information about the means used is wrong. The water cannon was never used. Instead teargas several times, police batons, small explosives were thrown into the crowd by the police forces and on top a hand held weapon for rubber projectiles was used against the ones that tried to get to cover. We have videos that prove this. However, this was never televised and never will be. Find videos under:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4y4NfMZ7N8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeAqgalCcBE

    Be the judge. Thank you for your time and attention.

    Peaceful unhappy citizen of Slovakia.

    • I think you maybe misread the intention of the article UV. We are just trying to point out that most protests or demonstrations attract a certain extreme group who use it to cause friction, as has happened in almost all the Gorilla protests to date, despite the pleas of the organisers. We are not referring to Gorilla protesters as extremists, only that the conflicts are often brought on by a few individuals, i.e. “a small group”. Hope you understand.

      • George M

        I doubt that they understand John ?….and not for my obvious hobby horse reasons …It is the total lack of Slovaks understanding of the English language . They may be able to communicate in English , but do not have the feel for the language . I roar with laughter at some of their misreading of a readers posted comment or news article …

        I did view the video and whilst there was some provocation of the uniformed Chimps, it appeared that the spaying of tear gas at the front of the protest was a kind of revenge rather than any crowed control .

        How can you have police force members that has no identity tags or number ? That is a licence to commit a murder !

        • unheard voice

          I couldn’t agree more Geroge :) The Licence to commit murder and the language thing as well. Well said.

      • unheard voice

        John, I do understand the terms and language, no worries about that, as I am a studied interpreter who spent some time in the UK, Scotland and other countries.
        And I also understand that this article (or the section about what happened with the police) is about the very few that do cause trouble in the crowd. It is not my intention to discredit the article or his author in any way. Merely trying to point out a few mistakes or info, that has not been released (badges). I value that someone is trying to inform the non-Slovak speaking public. Honestly!

        However, I was there and IF there was a small group causing trouble, the police should have taken them down one by one under cover. No need to beat up a crowd of 300 people (trouble makers max. 10) if you ask me, among which there were children and elderly.

        Also the water cannon was never used. And the lack of police badges and numbers are a NO DEAL to me. I know this is not part of the discussion to the article. I hope you understand that what I’m trying to say is, the police should reply to any hazard in accordance to the danger it poses. Do you see somebody attacking the police on the videos in a way, that would justify their actions? I don’t. And I have four eyes :D Also, if I can not identify an officer by his number and badge, than he is no officer officially. I guess that applies not only to Slovakia. Still happy for your reply, John. I will try to stick to the point next time, ok? ;) Thanks!

        • Yes, your input was much appreciated and your English is much better than most who comment here. I believe that the “riot” police don’t wear names so they can protect their own identity, but I am pretty sure they all have service Id numbers visible somewhere that can be used for reference. Maybe not.

          • The Id number is on the back of their helmets normally

          • unheard voice

            Thanks a lot. I take that as a big compliment from you, John.

            Well, the special units don’t have to wear anything, the riot police should. But is it all right to get a special assault unit to attack demonstrators in general? Also, the numbers are used to cover their identity, so they do not have to give out their names, that is the whole reason they wear these. They may have to hide their identity, but they also have to be accountable for their actions somehow. No special forces should be used against protesters (if they don’t have guns or worse). Also, just watch a few videos from the February riots in Greece. Youtube is full of them. 100 000 people in the streets, throwing firebombs at the police, but there still was not a single police officer whose face was covered, and no other weapon in their inventory except for a riot-shield and the baton. Here, a hand-full of protesters in the streets are put down by a special commando. No fair! :(

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