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Statement of Autonomous Cultural Centre Metelkova mesto – 21st January 2021

21 January 2021 > 28 February 2021


On Tuesday 19.1.2021 we have witnessed the eviction of Autonomous Factory Rog (AT Rog), carried out by the Municipality of Ljubljana in cooperation with private security company Valina, the police, building company Dolinšek and public utilities company VOKA Snaga. They broke into the premises of AT Rog at 7 am without any previous warning, used violence to evict those inside, prevented them even to put their shoes on without any explanation and immediately started to physically demolish the places and to tear down the buildings themselves. As it is clear that the eviction was prepared well in advance and that the community of Rog was not informed about it, the Municipality of Ljubljana justifies their action on the basis of a lie that they were informed that Rog was empty. To achieve their goals they used beatings, pepper-spray and intimidation that led to detainment of 13 people while 6 needed emergency medical attention. As the police clearly went beyond its legal powers it is necessary to add that police violence is becoming more and more regular since the declaration of the epidemic and inauguration of new government of Janez Janša on 13th March 2020, while being common and everyday practice at the borders of Europe.

After years of misleading the public, distortion of truth and enormous pressures through court procedures and their related costs, during the epidemic, while collective activities in communal spaces are limited and the individuals try to stay psychologically, physically and economically stabile - the Municipality of Ljubljane is still sticking to the logically non-sensical concept of "private property" that benefits only financial and political elites. Spaces of AT Rog can not and should not be designated as a private property as they are a property of Municipality of Ljubljana and that means they are owned by all the people who live in this town, and represents public good.

T Rog has been realizing this public good throughout its 15 years long and uninterrupted activity and was an authentic realization of the public interest: on the basis of solidarity, communality, non-hierarchy. It was a key site of exactly that content that Ljubljana is mostly in need of. Rog was a base for the self-organization of the Erased when they fought for their basic human rights and dignity. Social centre Rog was an organizational node of Invisible Workers of the World that articulated the struggle of thousands of migrant workers for their basic rights. Offering a helping hand to those who are the most suppressed among us protects us all as it defends human universality - our common existential basis. Rog is a space of Anti-racist front during the Balkan migration route, migrant solidarity initiative World for Everyone, local Occupy movement, Antifascist front, workers' protests, struggles against gentrification, feminist struggles, struggles against precarity, the Uprisings of 2012 and 2020. Rog is also a space of creativity, tenderness and imagination. Hundreds of individuals co-produced Rog: circus artists, sculpturers, painters, grafitti artists, poets, musicians, media artists, dancers, sportsmen and sportswomen, skaters, rollerskaters, tattoo artists and many more. Rog is a space of musical venues, discussions, presentations... it is about existing many grass-roots collectives, groups and individuals together - that create, build, produce, connect, debate and by this make Ljubljana a city that is alive and worth living in.

Under the disguise of building and renovation of the new Centre Rog, Municipality of Ljubljana destroys the activity of artistic, cultural, activist and social spaces that are all working for the public good. The first building MOL destroyed was Social centre Rog, an important space of critical thought, dedicated to facillitate adevelopment of informal political initiatives and social movements. Municipality is destroying the places where artists, individuals and collectives produce. All of those whose work is systemically under-paid or not paid at all, so that their basic survival is threatened, while market-oriented renting of work spaces is impossible.

nstead of facillitating the realization of needs that Ljubljana residents have, Municipality is destroying the autonomous spaces that are a foundation of humanistic development, human rights, living culture and arts. Instead of supporting culture and openness that they so like to brag with in their declarations, the Municipality of Ljubljana rather destroys and beats people up. In the midst of a pandemic, with temperatures below freezing, without any warning and in a treacherous way, it is throwing many people on the street, making them homeless! As they preach private property, they steal and destroy personal belongings of the people of Rog and even prevents them to take care of their frightened pets! Municipality of Ljubljana is vehemently destroying a building that is under legal conservation of histroic buildings protection. As it preaches about green Ljubljana and ecological development, it is sowing the asbestos dust from the broken roof-tiles of Rog buildings. That is why we say to the Municipality of Ljubljana - get your hands of our sister AT ROG! We share deep bonds with her, friendships, many longterm cooperations, dialogues and projects. Struggle for Rog is our struggle: it is a joint struggle against institutionalization of systemic violence against all that dare to think and act with fresh mind, different, critical approaches, it is the struggle of all that find themselves on the margins. It is a struggle against the erasure of those rare spaces of autonomy, struggle against suppression of human rights and a struggle of solidarity. Only with solidarity and joint struggle can we as a society come away from this attack as winners, as those who keep their human dignity, as people.


AKC Metelkova mesto