Hundreds of human rights activists marched through the centre of the Croatian capital Zagreb on Saturday to highlight what they claim is a worrying rise in political repression in the country.
The rally began in front of a monument to former President Franjo Tudjman. At the beginning of the year, a man who daubed hammer-and-sickle graffiti on the monument was detained and is now on trial.
The protesters denounced what they called “the arbitrariness and bias of repressive state bodies” for prosecuting him, as the state has done nothing to stop the destruction of more than 3,000 monuments and memorials across the country to the WWII anti-fascist resistance and to hundreds of thousands of victims of the fascist Ustasa movement.
The organisers also highlighted alleged violence by police against refugees and migrants and the intimidation of journalists.
“We live in an era of constant police brutality against refugees and repression of journalists for posting on social networks,” they said in the announcement for Saturday’s march.
The rally passed by the Croatian Journalists’ Association building to show solidarity with journalists who have been targeted during the course of their work.
In the most recent case in September, Croatian journalist Gordan Duhacek was fined around 100 euros for posting an ‘anti-police’ message on Twitter and now awaits another verdict for ‘offending citizens’ moral feelings’ by posting a satirical rewrite of a patriotic song.