Ljubljana related

08 Jun 2021, 11:18 AM

STA, 8 June 2021 - The results of a survey by Legebitra, an advocacy group for LGBTI rights, have shown that schools are not safe spaces for members of the LGBT community. One in four LGBT students reported of having often heard homophobic remarks at school, and in more than half of the cases, school staff did not intervene.

In a study entitled LGBT Youth - Breaking the Silence in Schools, which was conducted in 2019, Slovenian LGBT students presented their experiences of discrimination at schools. The results showed that 11% of LGBT students did not intend to complete their secondary education.

According to the study, students who have often been targets of attacks and remarks because of their sexual orientation are less likely to continue their education. One in four surveyed LGBT students reported often hearing homophobic remarks at school.

Only 13% of respondents said that school staff always or almost always intervened when homophobic remarks were made, 54% of them reported that school staff never intervened, and 33% of students observed school staff intervening occasionally.

Meanwhile, 41% of LGBT students felt that school staff responses to reports of harassment or assault were ineffective. Only around 11% of students felt that school staff responded to reports of harassment or assault very effectively, while 48% of students felt that their intervention was somewhat effective.

Legebitra also warned in a press release that homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and sexist language and other prejudice-based remarks create an unsafe school environment that can lead to LGBT people not fulfilling their potential.

The study involved 602 people aged 16-21. The average age of the participants, who came from all regions of Slovenia, was 17.4 years.

11 Dec 2020, 14:47 PM

STA, 11 December 2020 - The 36th Festival of LGBT Film brings 18 feature film and documentaries and 17 shorts, which will be available free of charge on the Cinesquare platform and via Vimeo from Saturday until 20 December.

Feature-length films will be available only in Slovenia, for 24-48 hours, and will be capped at 150 screenings, said Brane Mozetič of the ŠKUC Society, which organises the festival.

Three films for which the organisers have failed to obtain the green light for online screening are to be screened at the Slovenian Cinematheque when it reopens.

The short films will meanwhile be available online throughout the festival.

The festival brings several lesbian-themed films, including Germany's Between Summer and Fall, and Bonnie & Bonnie, as well as South Korea's Moonlight Winter.

Several films focus on LGBT activists, among them The Silent Generation, a documentary about repression in Franco's Spain, the onset of democracy and the LGBT+ movement.

A Slovenian short, Kondom na Glavo (Condom on the Head) meanwhile brings a story about HIV prevention.

Mozetič said at a recent news conference that the festival had been featuring an increasing number of films about transsexual and intersexual topics.

This year both opening-night films - Italy's A Man Must Be Strong and Australia's Unsound focus on them.

The gay film selection meanwhile brings Canada's Saint-Narcisse, which won an award at this year's Venice Film Festival.

The international jury's award and the award for best Slovenian film will not be given out this year, the later due to an insufficient number of entries.

However, film viewers will be able to rate the films on Cinesquare and the winner is to be screened once again at the Cinematheque.

The accompanying programme will feature an online workshop for film critics and a talk with some of the film directors.

The Cinesquare page is here

26 Sep 2020, 09:38 AM

STA, 25 September 2020 - The Ljubljana Pride Parade to be held on Saturday is marking two decades since the first protest rally against homophobia was staged in the capital. The LGBTIQ+ community has managed to secure a number of rights since, but its members still do not live as equals in Slovenian society and homophobic discourse is on the rise again.

The roots of the Ljubljana Pride Parade date back to 8 June 2001 when gay poets Brane Mozetič and Jean Paul Daoust were denied entry into the then Cafe Galerija bar in the centre of the city.

Not receiving an apology and formal condemnation, activists first responded to the incident with an initiative involving slow and protracted drinking of mineral water at the bar and then with a rally that was held on 6 July to evolve into the first official Pride Parade a year later.

These events and the path walked since were remembered at several events in June, including with a mineral water drinking debate at the scene of the original sin, an exhibition on 20 years of the Ljubljana Pride Parade, a literary evening and concert, a symposium on LGBTIQ+ rights and web panels on rights in healthcare, legislation, social protection and social inclusion.

The president of Ljubljana Pride Parade Society Simona Muršec has told the STA that members of the LGBTIQ+ community have empowered themselves in the past 20 years, but inequalities persist. Also, they reveal their sexual orientation more frequently, even in the countryside, but reactions have become stronger as well.

"Unfortunately the general mindset is deteriorating. We see, notice and feel an increase in hate speech. There is an increase in very extreme forms of rejecting even the right to LGBTIQ+ individuals existing, let alone to them revealing themselves publicly," Muršec said.

She meanwhile sees the changes that have happened within the community in the last 20 years as one of the main achievements. LGBTIQ+ representatives and activists are better organised today and organisations promote different groups. While the focus 20 years ago was mostly on the needs of gay people, trans and intersex persons are also represented today.

There is practically no local environment today that would not feature LGBTIQ+ members, Muršec said, adding "this is a major step, as 20 years ago a great majority of the countryside still lived in the conviction that such people are not among us or need to stay hidden".

As for key legal gains, Muršec highlighted the civil union act from 2016, which regulates same-sex partnership. "The struggle for this was long and is not finished yet, since a civil union is not yet equalised with marriage."

More and more people are deciding for formal status and LGBTIQ+ members are using legal means. "By getting new practices and legal procedures, it becomes easier to fight for equal treatment," Muršec added.

Equal treatment is one of the fields that the community still wants addressed, with Muršec noting that the attitudes of, say the Ljubljana and Maribor administrative units, to procedures initiated by same-sex couples may still differ.

Returning to people's attitudes in the street and other public institutions, Muršec said LGBTIQ+ persons in small towns still face discrimination, while the school is often a cruel environment as well.

One of the main legal fields highlighted as still discriminatory by LGBTIQ+ members is healthcare and access to health services. Muršec said many still do not get treated in a proper and dignified manner, while she also mentioned the fight for equal access to artificial insemination.

As for social security, she noted that the coronacrisis exacerbated the housing issue of many young LGBTIQ+ individuals, with student homes and meeting points closing. "The general mantra was: go home," said Muršec, while stressing the family is often the primary environment of rejection for LGBTIQ+ individuals.

The community meanwhile also sees the need to join forces with other social struggles. "We cannot pretend that, say, the attack on media freedom is not connected to us," she said, pointing to the example of Poland where LGBTIQ+ persons are being dehumanised and used ideologically in the media for scaremongering.

25 Sep 2020, 13:03 PM

Saturday sees the culmination of a month of covid-compliant activities staking out the place of the LGBTQ+ community and all who support love, tolerance and respect in Slovenia, with the annual Pride Parade. To deal with the current restrictions there will be 10 smaller gatherings and rallies, but the main focus will still be the parade, which will follow the route shown below.

ljubljana pride 2020 route.png

It all starts at YC Legebitra, at the far  end of Trubarjeva cesta, 76a, by Rog. People will gather there at 16:00, but won’t start walking until 17:00. The route will take you through town and then back the Metelkova at around 20:00. There’s an afterparty at Pritličje that starts at the same time and is being broadcast on Radio Študent, so you can play along at home.

Note that masks are needed, and you can lean more on the related Facebook page - more stories on the LGBTQ+ community in Slovenia are here

01 May 2020, 11:32 AM

STA, 1 May 2020 - LGBT+ rights NGOs have had to adapt their services to the current extreme circumstances to help contain the Covid-19 spread. Activists are aware that preventive measures are key but also warn that lockdown restrictions have resulted in the loss of safe spaces and aggravated the community's situation.

"The closure of physical social spaces is definitely restricting safe spaces available to LGBTI persons. Most notably that affects those who have had to return to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic environments; unfortunately a lot of parents or guardians are still not accepting of LGBTI persons, even when those persons are their family members," Lana Gobec, the head of the Legebitra NGO, has told the STA.

Quite a few youths have turned to the organisation for support after university dorms were shut down, for they were unable to return to their primary environments either because they had strained relations with their parents or guardians or because they were not allowed to return due to their sexual orientation and/or identity.

"Following the intervention by student organisations, university dorms were then reopened for those who have no other accommodation options," added Gobec, highlighting that this was not the case for persons residing in secondary school dormitories, who are hence often left with only an option of going back to discriminatory and potentially violent environments.

Legebitra can assist in such cases by helping the person seek shelter in a safe house.

The results of the 2019 Eurobarometer on the social acceptance of LGBT+ people in the EU show that 32% of Slovenians would feel totally uncomfortable if one of their potential children was in a romantic relationship with a person of the same sex as the offspring.

In the case of them being in a relationship with a transgender person or intersex person that figure dominates at 39% or 37%, respectively.

Crisis amplifies social inequalities and mental health problems

Institute TransAkcija, the first Slovenian trans-specific NGO, has warned that the Covid-19 crisis has been highlighting and deepening the gap between the privileged centre and marginalised minorities.

"First and foremost, I believe that the anti-crisis measures have been drawn up in such a way that most of them require a certain privilege from the get-go, so that a conscientious citizen could heed them.

"#StayHome, for example, sure, naturally, but what if one does not have a home? Or one does have a bed, but in an extremely toxic environment? The measures are primarily drawn up for persons whose circumstances stem from a number of normative groups, while minorities are, as always, faced with situations that require self-organisation," Linn Julian Koletnik, the founder and head of TransAkcija, has told the STA.

They have also pointed out that only a handful of spaces in Ljubljana are available to the LGBT+ community and almost zero elsewhere. The current circumstances have only aggravated the situation.

"Community spaces mean safer spaces where people can relax and express themselves the way they are; so many are struggling now because those spaces are missing. But there are online efforts aiming to maintain the sense of community, which is great."

Various factors, including a temporary loss of physical safe spaces and rejections experienced in primary environments, have exacerbated mental health problems for some, with LGBT+ persons being more likely to struggle with mental health in general, according to numerous international studies.

Individuals who seek help via Legebitra support and counselling programmes and were residing in dormitories prior to the introduction of the measures have been reporting intensified feelings of anxiety, gender dysphoria and depressive moods.

Such reports have been coming mostly from younger members of the community who are not enjoying the support of their families, since their parents are not accepting their sexual identities, Gobec has highlighted. Legebitra believes that many more LGBT+ persons face similar difficulties.

The organisation has not detected any increase in various types of violence against LGBT+ persons so far, however it has warned that the lack of such information could be misleading, since not only risk factors are multiplied during times of crisis but also it is more difficult to access mental health services.

Moreover, the community has been facing prejudices and stigmatisation regardless of the crisis, which may also result in suffering abuse and violence. Experts have been pointing out that if reported, which is quite rarely the case, such incidents are not recorded separately as hate crimes against the LGBT+ community and are thus not reflected in statistical data.

The 2019 Universal Periodic Review report on the situation of LGBT+ persons in Slovenia, which was sent to the United Nations by several organisations, including Legebitra and TransAkcija, shows that in the five years leading up to 2019, 60% of LGBT+ survey respondents were victims of harassment.

Almost a third did not report the worst incident to the police since they believed that nothing would change because of that. More than 20% experienced physical and/or sexual violence and those were even less likely to report the crimes.

Many users of TransAkcija counselling and support services also report about amplified struggles during the epidemic in the wake of their environments rejecting them. Some trans or non-binary persons are not out in their primary environments or they are not accepted and are hence not able to safely use their actual names or pronouns and express themselves in line with their identities, explained Koletnik.

Moreover, LGBT+ persons struggle more with unemployment compared to the general population, which may lead to some doing sex work, said Koletnik. Sex workers are currently faced with even more serious troubles.

If they are forced to continue working amid the epidemic due to their socio-economic situation, "they are considerably exposing themselves to the risk of getting infected with the novel coronavirus. Also, they have zero workers' rights," added Koletnik.

Accessing support and online safe spaces

Both organisations have restricted their services to non-personal forms of communication due to the epidemic. TransAkcija continues to provide support online, using Jitsi for video-counselling, a platform that is, according to the organisation, safe and easy to use - features that are essential but not ubiquitous in helping vulnerable social groups, Koletnik said.

The institute has mainly strived for transforming its programmes in such a way so as to acknowledge the trans-specific needs.

"Transgender persons who wanted to or were in line to initiate the medical transitioning process have now had to postpone that for an indefinite time, which certainly extremely negatively affects their mental health since the process duration has been found to be the primary cause for mental health issues among trans persons, according to a study," said Koletnik.

Meanwhile, Legebitra has launched an online youth centre after closing the only such facility in the physical world, mainly intended for LGBT+ persons. Using digital technologies, the organisation carries on with all of its support and educational services, including supporting individuals living with HIV and providing legal counsel.

Gobec has pointed out that many members of the community were seeking support already prior to the crisis, with Legebitra detecting a considerable increase in counselling requests in the LGBT+ community in the past few years.




All our stories on the LGBTQ+ community and Slovenia are here

23 Nov 2019, 17:59 PM

Asher & Lyric, a travel site that focuses on how to stay safe and healthy will abroad, has just released its LGBTQ+ Danger Index, which places Slovenia at #22 on a list of the 150 most-visited countries with regard to how welcome gay travellers may feel in the country.

The results, which see Sweden, Canada, Norway, Portugal and Belgium as the most gay-friendly nations in the world, were derived using eight factors: legalised same-sex marriage, worker protection, protections against discrimination, criminalization of hate crimes, adoption recognition, polling data, the legality of same-sex relationships and morality laws. While some of these issues do not affect travellers directly, they are used as they indicate the overall attitude of a country to equal rights and protections for all.

Turning the rankings upside down, and looking at the nations from the least to most gay-friendly, the five worst places in the world for LGBT+ travellers – those that would perhaps meet the approval of Janez Janša – are Nigeria, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Tanzania, all of which threaten imprisonment or even death for homosexual acts.

The full report is full of interesting facts, such as 47 of the 70 countries where same-sex relationships are illegal were once part of the British Empire, and in almost all cases such laws were put into place under British rule. You can find more details, along with travel tips for LGBT+ travellers, here, while all our stories on related issues are here.

01 Nov 2019, 18:34 PM

STA, 1 November 2019 - A group of unidentified persons stormed Tiffany Club, a popular venue for LGBT events at the Metelkova Mesto alternative arts centre in Ljubljana, early on Friday morning, in what circumstances suggest was an attack motivated by hate.

The perpetrators, smashing in the club's entrance door and windows and threatening the personnel, fled the scene when the police arrived. The news of the attack was published on the club's Facebook page.

According to the police, the attack resulted in a few thousands euro in material damage.

The attack, during which the perpetrators vandalised the club's interior as well, was carried out after the venue closed in the early morning hours.

The personnel were unharmed, having barricaded themselves in while the attackers were trying to get to them, smashing on the walls and doors and hurling homophobic insults at them.

The police said they were treating the attack as an anti-LGBT hate crime.

The Tiffany Club shares the building with the lesbian Monokel Club, where a community response event will be held this evening, raising awareness about the importance of resistance and fight against such crimes.

The non-profit cultural organisation ŠKUC condemned the incident, expressing concern over the rise in anti-LGBT hate crimes and calling for the issue to be tackled.

The incident was also condemned by the Legebitra NGO and Equal Opportunities Ombudsman Miha Lobnik.

According to Lobnik, the attack on the Club, which is one of the rare LGBT venues and safe spaces in Slovenia, can be considered an attack on the entire LGBT community. He also stressed the importance of a zero-tolerance policy regarding violence against any minority.

Prime Minister Marjan Šarec wrote on Twitter that the attack was "a cowardly, pathetic act". He also pointed out that such violent actions were unfortunately not uncommon in Slovenia.

Meanwhile, Legebitra warned that the rise in anti-LGBT hate crimes was in part the result of normalising hate speech in politics and society in general.

A little over a month ago a security guard at another Ljubljana club, K4, was fired after insulting a guest with Nazi greetings at a gay event, and in early October a prominent gay activist was assaulted in Murska Sobota and sustained serious injuries in what he believes was a homophobic attack.

08 Aug 2019, 20:16 PM

While the most visible part of the work Ljubljana Pride (Društvo Parada Ponosa) does is the annual parade, which comes at the end of a few weeks of activities, the group works all year to make everyone feel at home in Slovenia. One of its current projects it the Culture of Humiliation, which I first came across on the related Facebook page. Curious to learn more, and to help spread word of the project, I sent some questions to Mateja Morić, who was kind enough to reply.

What problems does the Culture of Humiliation project want to address?

This project is aimed at a quite specific target group – young LGBTIQ+ individuals who experienced some form of (cyber)bullying. That group faces serious challenges but lacks institutional support in Slovenia. The reality of the Slovene context is that there is a big stigma around LGBTIQ+ identities, and LGBTIQ+ people are faced with institutional discrimination and oppression. Furthermore, discussion about (cyber)bullying is not recognised as important by the general public, and there are no systematic and strategic support or attempts to tackle it; it is not even recognised as a big problem.


"Abuse is easily internalised when you're young and it's all you've ever known"

"I'm Fine" by Verity Ritchie


How common is such bullying is such bullying in Slovenia?

Research conducted in 2017 showed that its very widespread: most of the young LGBTIQ+ people questioned faced violence and/or discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity from peers during their education, and in almost same percentage the institutional responses to such attacks failed. Such stories are also reflected when talking to other members of the LGBTIQ+ community.

Usually it starts in the form of so-called micro aggressions. Using hateful language, comments rooted in misogyny and sexism, racism… Most of the time this behaviour is normalised and not looked at as anything special, and then it slowly progresses. The thing is, if you don’t react at this first level then you’re silently giving the attackers permission to proceed. Which they usually do.


How are schools dealing with the problem?

Schools are not ready to tackle it, especially if we’re talking about any kind of violence based on someone’s (perceived) sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. LGBTIQ+ identities are still mostly taboo in schools, and the support young people get there depends on the support they get from their friends, and sometimes a teacher who will try to help.


"I suppose what gave me the inspiration to draw this picture is the idea that love should always prevail in the end. It’s hard to stay positive when you’ve got so much negativity surrounding you all the time, whether it’s at school, at work, or at home and it’s definitely hard to not give back the same hate that you receive. But there is bravery in staying soft in a world full of hate. Being bullied may have given me thicker skin but it did not make me hard. It did, however, make me well aware of how words can hurt a person but also of how they can raise a person up. And I’d pick making someone smile over making them insecure any day. Because at the end of the day, it feels so good to be good". Anna Marie Strmecki

How does the Culture of Humiliation try to help?

This project empowers young people to express themselves through art, opening the possibility to not only offer them art as a method which might help them to deal with their own experience of violence, but also opportunities to influence and help others by promoting the strong anti-violence messages. Art is the most powerful media, because anyone can use it to express themselves; it is a language everyone understands. Also, art shows the emotions, the state of the person who created it. It is personal and intimate – making it easier for others to empathize with the cause presented. It builds understanding on a completely different level.

Another very important step in that process is inclusion of LGBTIQ+ youth – supporting them, giving them the independence they so often lack and offering them a powerful tool. By including LGBTIQ+ youth to tackle the challenges that are happening to young people in general, we are giving them space in society where their values, skills and needs are recognized and appreciated. Also, by aiming at such a specific and challenged group, we put focus on their inclusiveness and diversity – by giving them a voice.

After working on this project for a few years now, we have realized that nothing makes people more interested in a new topic than hearing about it from a personal experience. A personal story allows them to connect with someone and put themselves in their shoes. Storytelling allows us to do just that, and to open diverse new topics in a way that is accessible to our audience and allows them to be touched by our stories. So this year, based on the idea of our volunteers and people active on the original project, we decided to expand our project in one more direction: empower young LGBTIQ+ people to tell their own stories through the use of storytelling techniques.


Daniel Arzola

Where can people see the exhibitions?

Over the last two years, an exhibition featuring the art of Daniel Arzola and Anthony Karadzoski, two amazing artivists we collaborated with (the latter being an initiator of the Culture of Humiliation project) has been set up in numerous places: youth centres, schools and gallery spaces around Slovenia.

The second exhibition, that came as an upgrade of the original idea, featured exhibits made by local LGBTIQ+ young people, and had its official opening during the Ljubljana Pride Festival 2019, in the Glass Atrium at the City Hall. From September onwards, this exhibition will also be available for travelling, with the preference to exhibit it in spaces where young people meet, as they are the one who it is at for.

Can you say something about the online part of the project?

The online part we use for showcasing the art of the LGBTIQ+ youth and raising awareness of the general public. We are currently introducing the young LGBTIQ+ artists whose art was featured on the last exhibition in our Culture of Humiliation fb page. There is also a project website, www.cultureofhumiliation.org, where you can read more about the background of the project and its beginnings, get to know more about bullying and get support if you need it.

How can people get involved?

If you are an LGBTIQ+ person, you can still apply to join the storytelling training we are organising in August, between 22nd and 25th in beautiful Rakov Škocjan (the application deadline is 15th Auustg). We will explore into different topics that concern us, such as bullying, family rejection, and discrimination based on gender/sexuality, but also exploring our identities, coming out, community, working and volunteering for LGBTIQ+ organizations, or anything else people want to share. The training will be in English and Slovene. More information and an application can be found here.

On the project website there is also a possibility to share your art based on your personal experience with discrimination, (cyber)bullying, hate speech… And if you feel inspired after hearing about all this then please get in touch, or contact us if you would like to host the exhibition at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All our stories about LGBTIQ+ issues are here, and if you'd like to add to them, please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

30 Jun 2019, 15:38 PM

STA, 30 June 2019 - The first ever Pride Parade was held in Slovenia's second largest city Maribor on Saturday, with some 800 people peacefully parading the city streets to spread a message of love, equality and inclusion, according to the organisers.

As Marja Guček of the Maribor Youth Culture Centre told the STA, the attendance exceeded all expectations and the event concluded without any incidents.

The participants were addressed by Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič, British Ambassador Sophie Honey, Andra Camelia Cordos of the Romanian organisation Go Free, and Simona Muršec of the Ljubljana Pride Parade Association.

The speakers emphasised the importance of such events around the world in the light of the fight for equality of persons with different sexual orientations and for acceptance and inclusion of all.

Also expressing support for the first Pride Parade in Maribor was also expressed by the UEFA president, Slovenia's own Aleksander Čeferin, Köln Mayor Andreas Wolter and 19 organisations and companies from the city.

The parade was also attended by Susan K. Falatko, the new chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Slovenia, French Ambassador Florence Ferrari, British Council Slovenia director Dragan Barbutovski and numerous representatives of the Maribor city council.

All our LGBT+ stories can be found here

22 Jun 2019, 07:06 AM

STA, 22 June 2019 - The annual pride parade will take to the streets of Ljubljana on Saturday, a culmination of a two-week festival campaigning against the culture of hate that has become pervasive in society. For the first time ever, a pride parade will also be hosted by Maribor in a week's time.

 Maribor is not the only city in the region to host its first pride parade. The Croatian port city of Rijeka, Serbia's second largest city Novi Sad and Bosnian capital Sarajevo will also host their first parades this year, according to Pride Parade Association head and festival director Simona Muršec.

Talking to the press at the beginning of the festival, she said that the first pride parades in these cities will be a litmus test showing whether the society is ready to accept LGBTQ+ people as their neighbours.

This year's parade slogan is Unavoidably Intertwined, with the organisers trying to raise awareness about the pervasiveness of hatred, and about negative and stereotypical portrayal of marginalised groups.

"Our lives are strongly influenced by the society and its dynamics; what is going on in the media and in politics. We've come a long way in 19 years but homophobic and xenophobic abuse, hate speech and bullying at schools remain an everyday occurrence, and this is a part of our reality as well," Muršec illustrated.

Author Nina Perger meanwhile said that hate speech, threats and insults were becoming more frequent and more intense, and were also becoming a part of everyday life.

"We are trying to encourage action and fight, reaction and connection instead of passiveness and silence," said Perger, adding that key players and institutions moved too slow to protect the marginalised groups and human dignity.

Leading up to the parade, the Pride Parade Festival featured some 30 events, including performances, debates and exhibitions.

In the week before the festival the NGO Legebitra issued a handbook, entitled Mavrica (Rainbow), for teachers and others working in education in addressing issues related to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual expression.

Legebitra head Lana Gobec said at the handbook presentation on Wednesday that LGBT persons remain targets of ridicule, remarks and verbal, psychological and physical violence in society, adding that places for the young must be safe spaces for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

A survey by Legebitra showed some 30% of LGBT respondents said that they had been discriminated and harassed due to their sexual orientation while in school.

All our stories on the LGBT community and Slovenia are here

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