Parties and Officials Condemn Attack on Serb Minority MPs

By 29 September 2018

ZAGREB, September 29, 2018 - Prime Minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenković condemned on Friday and called unacceptable an attack on Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) president Milorad Pupovac and SDSS MP Boris Milošević.

"Today's attack on SDSS president Milorad Pupovac and MP Boris Milošević is unacceptable. We condemn any form of violence and expect the police to establish all the circumstances and find the person responsible for the attack," the government said in a press release, adding that after the attack Plenković talked with Pupovac.

The Serb National Council (SNV) said food leftovers were thrown at Pupovac and Milošević as they were walking through Zagreb's farmers' market around 2 pm on Friday.

The opposition Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) and Civil Liberal Alliance (GLAS) on Friday strongly condemned an assault on Serb minority MPs, calling it a primitive act that should be punished.

The HSS said in a press release "this primitive act is a product of awakened ghosts of the past which, unfortunately, are increasingly strong in present-day Croatia." The party called on the authorities to find the perpetrator as soon as possible and properly punish them so that such incidents did not escalate as then, it said, it would be too late.

The IDS and GLAS told those in power that "a healthy society and Croatia's reputation are worth far more than a few votes" and to put an end to hate and primitivism. They said "such an open show of hate and intolerance is a logical consequence of the normalisation of a radical, violent and primitive rhetoric in the Croatian public sphere."

"Today's incident is the embodiment of the government's disregard of and total disinterest in tackling the intolerance and fascism in Croatia," the two parties said.

For several years, Croatia has been regressing in terms of civil and human values, but "today's humiliating attack on representatives of the largest minority in Croatia is yet another huge blow to an open and progressive Croatia," they said. "Unfortunately, everyone normalising hate by keeping silent is a direct participant in this ugly incident."

The Croatian People's Party (HNS), a junior partner in the coalition government led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), on Friday condemned an attack on Serb minority members of parliament Pupovac and Milošević.

"In 2018, there must be no room for any violence or physical attacks in a democratic country. We all have the responsibility to build an open and tolerant society, and we must all, notably public figures, condemn in the strongest terms incidents like this one, if we want to move forward as a society," the party said in a statement.

The nongovernmental organisation Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past and the Antifascist League of Croatia, too, condemned the attack on the two MPs, calling on the public to "demonstrate solidarity and stand up against growing intolerance and all forms of fascism."

Documenta said that the attack on the SDSS MPs was reminiscent of the years when hate and violence towards those who were different ended in killing.

The Antifascist League said the attack was proof of what the hate-mongering campaign that had been waged against the Serb minority members of parliament for some time could lead to. "The fascistisation of the Croatian society is a dangerous phenomenon because fascism is not concentration camps, they come at the end; fascism starts with exposing a minority to rage and hate-mongering, which is something that has become an everyday occurrence in the Croatian society, the primary targets being our fellow citizens of Serb ethnic background and all those who do not use radical right-wing discourse," the Antifascist League said in a statement.