Thousands March for Women’s Rights in Zagreb

By 9 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 9, 2018 - On the occasion of the International Women's Day, several thousand Croatians took to the streets of Zagreb on Thursday evening, demanding the ratification of The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul convention), the right to abortion and gender equality.

The protesters also called on Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy Minister Nada Murganić to step down, saying that she was telling women that they should keep silent and put up with domestic violence.

"We are angry because, at a session of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights two days ago, a message was sent that women-victims of domestic violence should keep silent and put up with domestic violence because protection of their lives is too expensive. That they should not snitch on their husbands. We are angry because gender-based violence goes unpunished, because the prime minister is lying openly about the date of the ratification of the Istanbul convention. Because in her comments on a case of domestic violence in the HDZ party Minister Murganic says, 'That's how things are in a marriage.' We are angry because conservative and church circles are making up gender ideology in order to preserve patriarchy. Because HRAST MP Hrvoje Zekanović is announcing a referendum on the Istanbul convention using lies and manipulation," reads a declaration read out at the march.

The document also warns about low salaries for women workers and about threats to the right to abortion.

"The right to abortion is again being attacked by the Church and the ruling structures, with work underway on a new law designed to introduce compulsory pre-abortion counselling. Centres where women are talked out of abortion are being opened and the so-called post-abortion syndrome is being talked about even though its existence has been scientifically contested. We are angry because of those who, under the guise of prayer, stand outside hospitals and because conscientious objection makes abortion inaccessible," says the document read out at the march, which also drew a large number of prominent public figures.