Politics

Slovenian Police Bans Concert by Croatian Singer

By 17 May 2017

Marko Perković Thompson was supposed to perform at a concert on Saturday.

The police in Maribor in Slovenia decided to ban the concert of Croatian signer Marko Perković Thompson scheduled for Saturday in the town due to a security risk. They followed the opinion of the representatives of some political parties, associations and initiatives, but also of the Speaker of the Slovenian Parliament Milan Brglez, reports 24sata.hr on May 17, 2017.

The proposal for the ban was sent to the Maribor town authorities who have accepted it.

For the police, the problem is that the tickets for the concert would be sold, in addition to Slovenia, in Croatia and Austria. They feared that “radical fans” from neighboring countries could come to the concert. “Thompson might draw his fans from Croatia. Some of them are radical, and we do not have any other information about them, so they may be a risk for us,” the police said. They added that they were afraid of protesters against the concert who could clash with Thompson’s fans.

The tickets for the concert were sold out.

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It is possible for the organisers to appeal the decision, which they have already done. However, the appeal does not stay the execution of the decision.

Parties Front for Maribor and TRS issued a joint statement on Monday calling on the organisers of the concert to cancel it because they say there is no room for ''hate speech'' in Maribor. “The artist’s concerts are filled with mainly pro-Ustasha ideology and iconography wrapped in patriotism,” they said in a statement. On the other hand, member of the Town Council, Stojan Auer, does not see anything controversial in the concert. For him, the concert is just business.

“The President does not know much about Marko Perković Thompson’s music, but he knows about Thompson's political views and he rejects them,” announced the representatives of the Slovenian President, adding that it was the task of the organisers to take care of law and order at the concert if it does take place in the end.

The Office of Prime Minister Miro Cerar said the same thing. “The Prime Minister rejects any hate speech and does not support concerts or rallies that spread hate or similar rhetoric,” said the representatives from Cerar’s office.

Speaker of Parliament Milan Brglez indicated that such a concert was inappropriate for Maribor and for Slovenia, since it would ''glorify'' the Ustasha regime and intolerance towards non-Croats.

Marko Perković Thompson reacted to the controversy. “The attacks are coming mostly from the remains of the Yugoslav Communist regime which still has a strong political influence in Croatia and in Slovenia,” said Thompson. “The worldview which I promote in my songs is contrary to theirs, and they are trying in every way to present me as a villain. People who have listened to my songs cannot find anything for which I am accused.''

He announced that he would seek protection from Croatian politicians. He wants to know whether Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier and President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović will do something about reactions to his concerts in Europe. “I will ask them whether they accept claims that my audience and I spread hatred and glorify fascism. I wonder what they will do in order to stop the spreading of falsehoods and labeling. Are my music and my audience perhaps banned?” asked Thompson.

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