Global Protest Watch: Is Slovenia Next?

More than 14,000 people have become members of a Facebook group calling for Dimitrij Rupel, “perennial foreign minister” of Slovenia, to step down according to Reuters. Last week we reported on the Croatian protests which were organized on Facebook and attracted over 3,000 people to the country’s capital on Friday.

Facebook is rapidly becoming a center for political dissent throughout Eastern Europe and the protest trend appears to be spreading. Currently the group has not organized any formal protest event but a rapidly growing Facebook group can now be considered an early warning sign. There were a few catalysts of last week’s protests in Croatia but one of the most significant was when Niksa Klecak was arrested for creating the group “I bet I can find 5,000 people that hate the Prime Minister”.

The group ended up attracting many more than 5,000 and within a week, protests had materialized. This is not to suggest that Facebook was necessarily the primary reason for the protests but simply that the platform is clearly successful in enabling individuals to rapidly organize and mobilize large groups of people. Slovenia is less than half the size of Croatia, with approximately 2 million people, according to 150,000 Slovenians are already on Facebook, growing over 40 percent in the last month alone (according to Facebook’s advertising statistics).

While I don’t think this article will preempt a Slovenian revolt, I would say that there is a good chance that protests could materialize in the near future. Conversely, Dimitrij Rupel is only the foreign policy advisor to the ruling party, so I’m not sure that such a position warrants people taking to the streets. If you want to keep your eye on what happens, I suggest checking out the Facebook group which is currently growing at a pretty good pace.