Croatia’s President Ivo Josipovic has condemned violence at a Pride parade in the coastal city of Split on Saturday as “shameful.” Around a dozen people were injured, several of them journalists, when violence broke out at the event. The police said at a press conference Saturday that 137 people were arrested.
[President Ivo Josipovic] said the violence has “shown that there are some non-European parts of our society.”
He insisted that it was “not Croatia’s real face.”
Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor warned that violence and hatred were “something that cannot be tolerated in Croatia.”
Some 10,000 opponents of the gay-pride parade in Split hurled stones, bottles, bricks, cigarette lighters, and stones at around 200 participants who eventually had to be evacuated in police vehicles.
A spokesperson for Amnesty International reportedly blasted police over their perceived failure to adequately defend the Pride event.
From On Top Magazine:
“It is a disgrace that the police failed to adequately protect participants of today’s march,” said Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia.
“The authorities must hold an immediate investigation into what happened,” he added. “The police have to make absolutely clear that discriminatory violence is a criminal offense and will not be tolerated.”
Duckworth went on to call on lawmakers to condemn the violence.
“The Croatian authorities need to act to stop this happening in [the] future. A first step would be for all political leaders to state unequivocally that everyone has the right to peacefully demonstrate and express their identity.”
Police officials reportedly warded off these accusations at a press conference Saturday saying the Pride route they had planned was sound and maintaining that their quick actions when LGBT rights opponents turned nasty meant that more people were spared injury.
They also pointed out that at least one police officer was injured in trying to protect the marchers from violence and stated that there will be a full inquiry into the incident.
Saturday’s violence comes just a day after Croatia was cleared to join the European Union in July, 2013. Read more on that here.