Sunday, 4 July 2021

Zagreb Pride: Outbreak of Homophobic Violence for First Time in 10 Yrs

ZAGREB, 4 July, 2021 - The Zagreb Pride organisation said on Sunday that yesterday, for the first time in ten years, an outbreak of homophobic violence occurred on the day of the LGBTIQ community's Pride Parade in Zagreb.

Zagreb Pride said in a press release the "outbreak of homophobic-fascist violence" consisted of "a series of attacks, arson and insults in different parts of the city."

It expects the police to treat all the attacks as hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation and not as misdemeanors for disturbing the peace.

The organisation said it had contacted some of the victims and that it would extend legal and other support "in the criminal procedure because the perpetrators (of one attack) have been arrested."

Describing another attack, Zagreb Pride said that a young lesbian was attacked after the parade by four men who noticed her rainbow flag. They grabbed the flag, hit her, threw her to the ground and took off, it added.

According to the organisation, several incidents involving threats, intimidation and vulgar outbursts have not been reported. It called on victims to contact them and report the attacks with the organisation's help.

"Violence against LGBTIQ persons on the streets of Zagreb and other cities, notably Rijeka, is again becoming a serious problem for our society," the press release said.

LGBTIQ youth, who are the most frequent victims of such public violence, will never agree to live in the closet, as they loudly showed at the Pride Parade yesterday, Zagreb Pride said.

"They have lived their entire lives in a society in which our struggle has opened the spaces of their freedom. Every LGBTIQ person in Croatia has the right to live freely, be visible and themselves, wave the rainbow flag, hug and kiss in the street."

Zagreb Price said they had secured visibility and that this would never change. "We will never go back to the silence and the closet, we will never again lower our heads before these cowardly scoundrels. It's time the aggressive homophobic minority realises it has been defeated."

The organisation said "there is no doubt" that recent statements by MPs Nikola Grmoja and Božo Petrov, "spreading intolerance, homophobia, inciting divisions and hate," had contributed to Saturday's incidents.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Mayor: Detained Zagreb Administration Employees Temporarily Sacked

ZAGREB, 3 July 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Saturday, after corruption-related arrests earlier this week, that the city administration employees placed in investigative detention would be temporarily terminated.

He told the press that he had warned about the way in which public spaces in Zagreb were leased back when he was a city councillor, announcing that the City Assembly would now change the necessary decisions and rules.

Tomašević said that one of the new city administration's moves had been to appoint an entirely new commission which decided on the lease of public spaces, adding that the old commission "was very problematic."

Asked if he thought there would be more arrests in the city administration, he said, "I think there will be and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg." He added that the trials should be as brief as possible to see if those arrested were guilty or not.

Zagreb is an open city

Tomašević was speaking to the press at the 20th Zagreb Pride Parade.

"We wish to say as the new administration that Zagreb is an open city celebrating all differences, and that no one can be discriminated against on any grounds, including sexual orientation."

He said this was the first time that a Zagreb mayor was attending Pride. "It took 20 years, too long if you ask me."

Tomašević recalled that he marched in the first Pride as a private citizen, later as a city councillor last year as an MP, and now as the mayor.

He labelled as dangerous some politicians' statements about the LGBT community this week, saying that scoring cheap political points on minorities in 21st century Croatia was pathetic.

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated politics page.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

20th Zagreb Pride Parade Begins

ZAGREB, 3 July 2021 - A Pride Parade with about 100 participants started off at Roosevelt Square in downtown Zagreb at 3.30 pm on Saturday, marking the 20th LGBTIQ march in Zagreb under the motto "Pride Forever".

Participants are carrying rainbow-coloured signs, flags, clothes and props as well as banners reading "Love doesn't ask what's under the skirt/pants", "Faggots are workers too" and "Homosexual from head to toe".

A political rally called "Twenty prides together in comradeship and resistance" is scheduled for 5.30 pm at Ribnjak Park.

This year's Pride is one of the first mass gatherings to be held under COVID rules that went into force on 1 July, under which participants in larger gatherings must have digital COVID certificates. Dozens of wardens at Roosevelt Square checked if they did.

 For more about a life of LGBTIQ and other communities in Croatia, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 2 July 2021

HSLS Condemns Grmoja's Statement about Paedophiles and LGBT Persons in Same Context

ZAGREB, 2 July 2021 - The HSLS party on Friday condemned a statement by Bridge MP Nikola Grmoja who expressed disgruntlement over the promotion of sexual minority rights and linked the LGBT community to paedophilia.

"Tolerance and intolerance are two opposites that best symbolise two Europes today, a democratic one with liberal principles of freedom, equality and tolerance as part of their state policies, and an undemocratic one led by Orban's policies of intolerance and discrimination," HSLS leader Dario Hrebak said in a press release.

He said that in that kind of Europe there are two mutually opposite Croatias, one that belongs to the EU with its values and the other which is represented by "Orban's poltroons," which is the group that "Grmoja obviously belongs to," who are bothered by democracy and the values it consists of.

HSLS, which is part of the ruling coalition considers that the purpose of political institutions is peaceful conflict resolution between individuals, protecting individuals from any form of oppression and finding solutions to political problems that would be in accordance with the wishes and interests of individuals.

Democracy is not only its institutions but values it is founded on, and the relationship towards minorities in fact shows how a society puts its democratic values into practice, said Hrebak.

We must never stop fighting against backward ideas because by condemning them and clearly distancing ourselves from them, we are protecting democracy and its institutions, he added.

Grmoja on Wednesday announced that he would put forward and anti-phaedophile bill that would also ban "LGBT propaganda" being spread to minors.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated politics page.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Pride Ride Held in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 6 June, 2021 - An estimated 500 participants gathered for this year's Pride Ride that took place in downtown Zagreb on Saturday afternoon, and the ride was organised by an informal initiative of many individuals and organizations called "Proud Zagreb" - informal group LGBTIQ+".

This is the second annual edition of the pride ride, and the first pride ride was organised last year instead of a pride parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The organisers of this year's event, aimed at raising awareness of the rights of LGBT members, said that the first pride ride had been held last year due to the strict anti-epidemic measures and consequences of the 22 March 2020 earthquake.

They said that they were sad to see that no progress had been made in providing better living conditions for residents of Zagreb, including members of the LGBT community.

Danijel Martinović, an activist of the Rainbow Families association, said that the aim of this year's pride ride was to increase the visibility of LGBT persons in the public sphere.

He also underscored that LGBTIQ+ members would not be intimidated by cowardly acts such as the burning of LGBTIQ+ flags and effigies and physical assaults on LGBTIQ+ members.

"We should show that we are here," Martinović said adding that some progress was made in enabling same sex couples to foster children but there was always room for further improvement.

He added that they also expressed concern at the government's decision to appeal the court's ruling that enabled same-sex couples to foster children.

One of bicycle riders in this year's ride was a politician and MP Sandra Benčić of the We Can party. Also the newly-elected deputy mayor Danijela Dolenec of the same party came to support the riders.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Ombudswoman: Significant Presence of Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in Croatia

ZAGREB, 16 May 2021 - Gender Equality Ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić said on Sunday that different manifestations of intolerance towards sexual and gender minorities registered in 2020 indicated a significant presence of homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in the Croatian society.

On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, observed on 17 May with the aim of raising awareness of the need to fight discrimination and hatred against LGBTIQ persons, Ljubičić said that according to data from the Ministry of the Interior, seven criminal offences committed on grounds of sexual orientation were recorded in 2020. Those were mainly criminal offences of public incitement to violence and hatred and criminal offences of inflicting bodily harm.

Ljubičić also warned that a recently published study by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights entitled "A long way to go for LGBTI equality" showed that discrimination against sexual and gender minorities continued to be a pronounced social problem.

Also, according to the study results, 47% of respondents in Croatia almost never declare their same-sex orientation openly, and of the countries covered by the study, Croatia has the highest percentage of students who hide the fact that they belong to a sexual or gender minority (51%), Ljubičić said.

The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed on 17 May because on that day in 1990, homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization.

In Croatia, the day has been observed since 2011 by a decision of the Croatian Parliament as part of the National Gender Equality Policy.

For more news about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Two NGOs to File Report Over Burning of Rainbow Flag

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - The Rijeka-based LORI lesbian association and the Rainbow Families association of LGBTIQ couples and individuals who have or want to have children will file a report with the local prosecutorial authorities over the burning of a rainbow flag on the City Hall building.

In the night between May 7 and 8, a video of the burning of the flag was posted on the Instagam profile "riječani.1987", which is linked with the Armada football fan group, with the message: "This is the response to the newly-adopted law on adoption by same-sex couples."

LORI and the Rainbow Families said they would file a report for incitement to violence and hate and causing damage to another's property.  

The two associations said they expected a prompt reaction by the competent state institutions, with LORI recalling that in 2020 it filed a report with the Rijeka prosecutor's office over graffiti saying "Kill faggots", sprayed on a window of the Rijeka City Hall after an exhibition dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the association was staged there.

For more about LGBT in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Lesbian Couple in Croatia Finally Receive Excerpt from Life Partnership Register After Lawsuit

April 10, 2021 – After a long and, as they consider, unnecessary lawsuit, a lesbian couple in Croatia has finally received an excerpt from the life partnership register.

As Večernji list reports, after a wedding in another European country, two wives originally from Croatia decided to have 'proper papers' in Croatia, too. However, after they were denied an excerpt from the life partnership register, they initiated administrative proceedings to obtain an excerpt they thought they were entitled to. They did this through the permanent legal service of Zagreb Pride and their partner lawyer office, Bandalo & Labavić.

Croatia's High Administrative Court's judgment legally confirmed that they were discriminated against in Croatia because the Zagreb registry office did not want to issue them an excerpt from a life partnership but only registered this fact in the form of a birth certificate.

They state that the Life Partnership Act of 2014 clearly stipulates that life partners "have the same procedural rights and status in all judicial and administrative proceedings as spouses "(Article 37, paragraph 4).

"They asked for a document that would have been automatically issued to them if they had entered into a heterosexual marriage, an ordinary wedding certificate. The path to this 'paper' went through the administrative court, which gave them the right in the first instance and added that the registry office, by refusing to issue them an excerpt, violated many regulations. Those regulations include the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Constitution of Croatia, the European Convention on Human Rights, the Maastricht Treaty, and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. But in the first place, the Life Partnership Law is not respected, which incorporates the principle of 'guaranteeing the prohibition of unfavorable treatment' of life partners in relation to spouses.

The court made it clear that same-sex marriage entered abroad is equated in Croatia with a life partnership. Therefore, there is no reason why they should not be entered in the Life Partnership Register, as a foreign heterosexual marriage would be registered in the marriage register and not as a birth certificate. However, the Ministry of Administration appealed against this decision, rejecting their request for entry in the Life Partnership Register, formally referring to the Instruction on keeping that register, i.e., the lowest level regulation, ignoring the Life Partnership Act, the Anti-Discrimination Act, and the Constitution of Croatia.

The High Administrative Court did not accept this appeal either, stating that 'the rejection of the request for registration same-sex marriage entered abroad in the life partnership register in Croatia resulted in discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation'. The court pointed out that a heterosexual marriage would be immediately registered in the Croatian Registry of marriages, and that, therefore, as an equivalent, same-sex marriage should be entered in the Life Partnership Register," the Zagreb Pride said in a statement.

They are happy to "finally prove that they were right from day one and that their same-sex marriage in another country entered in the Croatian Life Partnership Register."

"This case, as well as last year's decision of the Constitutional Court which enabled same-sex families to adopt children, clearly shows how outdated and meaningless the constitutional restriction from 2013 is. Until the Constitution's change, which will equalize all families in all rights and obligations, we will be unnecessarily exhausted in offices and courts. In the end, we would always show that the constitutional provision on the prohibition of same-sex marriage is simply unnatural.

For now, we expect the Ministry of Justice and Administration to urgently amend the disputed part of the Instruction on keeping the life partnership register, in the part that was declared discriminatory in the High Administrative Court," the statement reads.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Zagreb Pride Condemns Most Appalling Attack on LGBTIQ Community in Last 20 Years

ZAGREB, Dec 29, 2020 (Hina) - The Zagreb Pride association issued a statement on Tuesday saying they were appalled by a brutal attack on a 50-year-old gay man.

Citing media reports, the association said that the man was attacked by two persons in Maksimir Park who set him on fire using inflammable liquid. It said that the attack occurred "out of pure homophobic hatred".

Police said they were investigating and confirmed that the assaulted man had been hospitalised. 

Zagreb Pride urged the police to identify the perpetrators and bring criminal charges against them, stressing that they did not want such homophobic violence to go unprosecuted.

The association said they wanted the law enforcement authorities to consistently apply the EU victims of crime directive to reduce secondary victimisation.

It also demanded an urgent and strong response from the police to protect the city's parks, squares and streets from attacks by "rightwing gangs".

"Rightwing violence in the public and online space is targeting not just the LGBTIQ community, but also the Serb, African and Roma communities in Croatia, as well as refugees and migrants," Zagreb Pride said.

TCN reported on the incident earlier today. You can read more in Horrific Hate Crime Reported in Zagreb Against a Gay Man.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Horrific Hate Crime Reported in Zagreb Against a Gay Man

December 29, 2020 - Croatian media report today about a horrific hate crime perpetrated against a gay man in Zagreb's Maksimir Park last weekend. 

Hajdi Karakaš-Jakubin reports the entire story for Jutarnji list: a 50-year-old man was taking a night walk in the Zagreb's biggest park, Maksimir, close to his home, this Saturday evening. Two unknown assailants first asked him if he had a cigarette lighter, and when he said he didn't, they started asking him various questions to find out what he was doing in the park. He started feeling uncomfortable, so he told them he was there to meet a friend (although he was just taking a walk in the evening!), and the assailants threw a Molotov cocktail on him and started running away. Soon his jacket caught on fire, and he was saved by brave passers-by, who ran to help him and contacted the emergency services. 

He's currently hospitalised in the Trauma Clinic in Zagreb, with second-degree burns to his body, arms, neck, and face. Zagreb police department reported that they're determining all the relevant information about this case, but it will be very difficult to find those responsible, because they had surgical masks on, so the victim will probably not be able to identify them, even if some suspects are found. 

Zagreb Pride association sent a strongly-worded letter to the Croatian media, condemning the attack. They say that they're terrified with the crime and that it's probably the worst anti-gay hate crime ever reported in Croatia. They demand a swift and decisive investigation into the crime, and that once the assailants are prosecuted, they are prosecuted for hate crime, and not a lesser crime. They also demand stronger protection for various minority groups (LGBTIQ community, Serbian, African, Romani minorities, as well as refugees and migrants) in the public spaces, which are often attacked by "right-wing gangs". They're offering their support to the victim, and are willing to provide legal and psychological help, if he wants that. They refuse the situation in which the victims of the homophobic violence get blamed for the crimes committed against them. Zagreb Pride stresses that each member of our society has the right to take a free walk in the public park for any reason whatsoever: to get some fresh air during the pandemic, to meet a friend or to set-up a date. They conclude their statement by adding that gay people are not to be blamed for anything just because they are who they are, while the right-wing gangs are to blame. 

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