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On 1 December the Sever Association and the Sever Police Veterans Society for Primorska and Notranjska held the main ceremony marking the association's memorial day and the 19th anniversary of Operation Sever at the Auditorij in Portorož.


Officials of the Sever Association were joined at the reception for police officers wounded in the war for Slovenia by the interior minister Katarina Kresal, the president of the federation of war invalids' societies Ivan Pivk, the president of the 91 War Invalids Association Jože Romšek, the mayor of Piran Tomaž Gantar, the police deputy director general Matjaž Šinkovec with members of his staff, directors of police directorates and presidents of police veterans' societies from the wounded police officers' home areas. The wounded police officers did not report any particular problems but Ms Kresal promised them that the door would always be open to them should they have difficulties to resolve.



The gala event began with the screening of a short film about the beauties of Slovenia and continued with a formal procession of flag bearers and the playing of the national anthem.


The gathering was addressed by Tomaž Gantar, the mayor of Piran, and Miha Molan, the vice-president of the Sever Association. The guest speaker was Miran Potrč, the vice-president of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia.

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Each speaker gave an outline of the events surrounding Operation Sever and emphasised the role played by the internal affairs bodies of the time in preventing the political rallies organised by Yugoslav centralist forces in Slovenia, and later in the war for Slovenia, and praised the association's work in conserving historical memory and caring for war veterans, the wounded and the families of the police officers who were killed.


During the ceremony the association awarded Sever plaques and the gold Sever badge. The recipients of other awards were also presented to the public.

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The event, which was led by Ana Godnik, included performances by the Police Orchestra with the soloist Matjaž Mrak, conducted by Miro Saje, the soloist Irena Vrčkovnik, the baritone Marko Kobal, the female vocal group Korala Koper conducted by Anton Baloh and the acrobatic dance troupe Flip Piran.


The following also honoured the memorial day with their presence at the main celebration: the president of the Republic Dr Danilo Türk, transport minister Patrick Vlačič, Brigadier Alan Geder, force commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Andrej Rupnik, director of the Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency, Tomaž Ertl, who was republic secretary for internal affairs at the time of Operation Sever, Igor Bavčar, who was minister of the interior during the war for Slovenia, deputies from the National Assembly and mayors, representatives of veterans societies and patriotic organisations and representatives of various state bodies.

The ceremony continued with a social event. President Türk met the wounded police officers and the relatives of the police officers who were killed and talked briefly to them.

The first of December was chosen as the memorial day of the Sever Association in memory of 1 December 1989, when the internal affairs bodies of the time prevented a political rally by Yugoslav centralist forces in Ljubljana and the creation of state of emergency, thus protecting democratic processes in Slovenia which then enabled democratic elections and the creation of the sovereign and independent state of Slovenia.

Text: Franc Bevc, Sever Association
Foto: Dean Božnik, Nova Gorica Police Directorate