Croats in Serbia in Fear

By 6 May 2018

ZAGREB, May 6, 2018 - Vojvodina Croat leader Tomislav Žigmanov said on Sunday he was glad that police had prevented a Serbian Radical Party rally in Hrtkovci but underlined that the cause of the fear among Croats in that Srijem village did not disappear.

"Peace has been preserved. There was no rally nor serious incidents. The people of Hrtkovci can be satisfied. But generally, the reason why this is happening, the downplaying of events from the 1990s in which Croats were the victims, among other things, hasn't disappeared," Žigmanov told Croatian media by phone.

The president of the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina said Serbian police had done a good job by preventing Radicals from coming to Hrtkovci, but added that those who had wanted to support local citizens could not come either.

Žigmanov, who is also a member of the Serbian parliament, said the announcement of convicted war criminal Šešelj's arrival in Hrtkovci was due to a complete lack of any kind response since the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague convicted him of the persecution of Vojvodina Croats on April 11. "It is certain and problematic that the process which began with a lack of punishment for such activity will likely continue. How and where, we don't know," he said.

Žigmanov added that he wanted to go to a mass in Hrtkovci and support local Croats, to be with them also when it was risky, but he returned to Subotica after he was prevented from entering the village.

Police today blocked access to Hrtkovci, where Šešelj wanted to stage a rally on the 26th anniversary of the persecution of Vojvodina Croats.