Srdjan Dvornik on Tue, 11 May 1999 17:24:07 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> fascists at the Square of Victims of Fascism


May 10, 1999

The Committee for Restitution of the Name of Square of Victims of Fascism
in Zagreb has organized the traditional May 9th celebration of the VE Day
and Europe Day on the same square currently named Square of Great Croats.
The rally has been duly registered with proper authorities. 

When the neo-Nazi movement New Croat Right called the so-called "patriotic
Croats" to violently disrupt the celebration, the police authorities of
Zagreb have been informed and asked to prevent the threats of violence. In
spite of impressive presence of regular police and riot squads on the
spot, the police did not prevent violent attacks of extremist neo-Ustashi
thugs, resulting in several cases of bodily injuries. By the end of the
rally, Fascist extremists even threw at least two CS gas grenades of
police type. 

The passivity shown by police present clearly indicates a sympathy for
neo-Fascist bullies: the police didn't prevent the penetration into
clearly delimited space for the rally of persons clearly showing violent
intentions and they let those persons physically attack the participants
of the rally, tear their transparents and panels etc. Later the police
pushed the right-wing extremists just far enough for them to throw stones,
scream, berate and even throw tear gas CS grenades. We have grounds for
the suspicion that some plain-clothes police officers took part in those
acts of violence. 

After the end and dispersal of the rally, the police arrested without a
good reason and took in a number of peaceful participants of the rally,
trying to create the impression of "impartiality" and to blame both sides
equally. In their official statement, the police claim that stones have
been thrown and acts of violence heve been committed by both sides, which
is not true. 

No police official can claim he didn't know what was being prepared by the
neo-Fascists. Unveiled threats were clearly uttered in New Croat Right
leaflets and public statements; they regret because there was no
"bloodbath in 1990" and because anti-Fascists "were not burried". 

Considering the May 9th incidents the culmination of a long-lasting
deliberate policy of tolerance for Ustashi and Fascist ideas and symbols;
worried about the presence of persons of open Ustashi and Fascist
persuasion in public institutions, police and army, about open alliance of
the ruling party with political parties and organizations who openly
manifest such persuasion, we openly ask Croat and international public
opinion: which forces in present-day Republic of Croatia can protect her
constitutional order? 

The incident on The Square of Victims of Fascism is an ominous warning
that the police force may not be willing - or able - to protect and uphold
the safety of public rallies during the next electoral campaign. Having
shown their political and ideological bias in this occasion, the police
may be expected to tolerate attempts of such bullyish counter-rallies
directed against any other political rally considered undesirable by the

The time has come to ask again in public the following questions: Does
this country still have her Constitution, which says that "the sovereignty
of the Republic of Croatia is based on the foundations for her sovereignty
as built during World War Two, expressed against the proclamation of the
Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in 1941, by The Land Anti-Fascist
Council of People's Liberation of Croatia in 1943"? Doesn't our
Constitution clearly say: "It is therefore prohibited and punishable to
call or promote the war or use of violence; to promote ethnic, racial or
religious hatred or any form of intolerance"? 

We ask therefore that the Minister of Interior urgently proceed with an
internal investigation and disciplinary measures against the police
officers who took part in violence and officers responsible for the safety
of the May 9th rally. If the investigation doesn't identify those
responsible without delay and if they are not punished accordingly, we ask
the Prime Minister to relieve the Minister of Interior of his duties. 

Non-Governmental Organizations of Croatia:
Institute for Transition to Democracy
Art Workshop Lazareti, Dubrovnik
Croatian Movement for Democracy and Social Justice
Center for Women Victims of War
Autonomous Women's House, Zagreb
Center for Civic Initiatives, Porec
Women's Infoteque
Center for Education and Counselling of Women
Serb Democratic Forum
Center for Civic Initiatives, Zagreb
Civic Committee for Human Rights
Croatian Society for Humanities and Social Sciences
Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
Women's group Losinj
MEDIUS Institute
Homo - organization for human rights, Pula

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