Friday, 15 October 2021

Doctors Condemn Protest Outside Minister Beroš's Home

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - The Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) and Croatian Medical Association (HLZ) on Friday condemned the anti-vaxxer protest outside Health Minister Vili Beroš's home.

About a dozen citizens gathered outside Beroš's home on Thursday evening after a Religious Instruction teacher from Križevci called on them to do so on his Facebook profile.

In the post entitled "House visit to COVID response team", Ivan Pokupac wrote that they would come unannounced in front of the home of one member of the national response team every day and stand around for 15 minutes to let them, their families and neighbours know of the "terror they are imposing on citizens."

The two medical associations said that such threatening behaviour of individuals directed against the family of any citizen, and in this case of an official, is an essentially unacceptable act that could put these families in jeopardy.

In any democratic society, there is no room for protests and demonstrations in front of an individual's home and they directly threaten the safety of family members.

Calls for violence and hate speech on social networks are a criminal act, and unfortunately, this unacceptable protest was preceded precisely by such comments on social networks, HLK and HLZ warned.

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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Nurses Protest in Downtown Zagreb

ZAGREB, 23 Sept 2021 - Members of the nurses union protested in downtown Zagreb on Thursday, saying there was no Health Ministry plan to improve their status and that they were being threatened and forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

They pointed to problems with inadequately paid overtime, job classification, accelerated retirement, and the recognition of university education.

Nurses said they were aware of their responsibility towards patients but that due to everyday fatigue and stress, they were becoming patients themselves.

They said COVID certificates in healthcare were unenforceable and that the rate of vaccination was so high that the minister was not allowed to say it publicly.

"How did we work for a year and a half without a vaccine, testing, and enough gear? People didn't exactly die because irresponsible nurses infected them," one nurse said, asking the minister if layoffs were next. "There are too few of us anyway. There is a shortage of at least 8,000 and you are doing nothing about it."

Minister: Protest is legitimate, but facts shouldn't be manipulated with

Health Minister Vili Beroš said the union protest by some nurses was legitimate but that they should not manipulate with facts.

He said the payment of overtime was regulated by a supplement to the collective agreement and the payment of overtime arrears was agreed upon a few days ago in communication with the unions.

Beroš reiterated that there was no coercion to get vaccinated but said that everyone working with sick people must know that they could infect them.

"We want to prevent that but in a reasonable way," he said, adding that those who have not recovered from COVID and refuse to get vaccinated or tested most probably will not get paid. "However, I don't think there will be such people."

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Saturday, 18 September 2021

Freedom Festival 2.0 Starts in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 18 Sept, 2021 - Freedom Festival 2.0, a protest rally organised by the Rights and Freedoms Initiative, started on Saturday in Zagreb's Ban Josip Jelačić Square, with several hundred people rallying for the second time in a month to express their dissatisfaction with COVID-19 epidemiological restrictions.

The protesters carried banners expressing opposition to vaccination and decisions by the national COVID-19 response team.

The organisers said that "most people now realise that COVID-19 has been misused for political ends that include the introduction of an entire set of measures and decisions that cause unprecedented damage to humans and benefit only smaller groups in positions of immense power."

There was a strong police presence at the rally.

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Saturday, 28 August 2021

A Few Hundred Rally in Protest Against Detrimental Effects of Lešće Power Plant

ZAGREB, 28 Aug, 2021 - A protest rally was held in the town of Novigrad na Dobri on Saturday against the hydro-power plant "HE Lešće" on the River Dobra, with protesters pointing out the plant's detrimental effects.

The rally brought together about 300 participants: locals, activists as well as representatives of local authorities. They warned about the damage done to the flora and fauna in the environment and highlighted the erosion of the banks of the River Dobra.

Karlovac County Prefect Martina Furdek-Hajdin told the rally that the state-run Croatian power company (HEP) has assumed the obligation to inform the local 112 centre and the public when the Lešće power plant's turbines were turned on to release tidal energy.

She said that the local authorities were doing their best to prevent the recurrence of bad experience.

In 2010 the then Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor inaugurated the trial run of Lešće, the first hydroelectric power plant built in Croatia since it gained independence in 1991. During that ceremony, it was said that this HRK 700 million power plant, located on the Dobra river, had a capacity of 42.29 megawatts and would produce 98 gigawatt hours of electricity per year.

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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Investment in Petrinja Infrastructure, Reconstruction Announced

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak met with Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović on Thursday to discuss an intervention plan for the reconstruction of the city after a devastating earthquake in December, after which a group of disgruntled people verbally attacked the mayor.

The intervention plan is aimed at the social and economic regeneration of small towns, it was said.

The minister said Petrinja had been implementing HRK 140 million worth of EU-funded projects until 2020 and that several more remained to be contracted.

She said the goal was to utilise the funds available until the end of 2023 in the Petrinja area and invest in infrastructure and ongoing projects.

Tramišak said €111 million had been ensured for building new state-owned flats in Petrinja, Sisak, Glina and other towns affected by the earthquake.

If standardised buildings and houses will be built, construction could begin soon, she added.

Mayor Dumbović said he was satisfied with the solutions proposed and that the Culture Ministry had promised that Petrinja would look as it did before the earthquake. 

Mayor verbally attacked by protesters

Several dozen protesters rallied outside the venue of the meeting, complaining about the lack of transparency in decisions concerning the right to reconstruction aid and about the distribution of humanitarian aid.

The demonstrators blocked the exit of the fire station where the meeting was taking place, preventing the mayor's car from leaving the venue and announcing new protests.

Dumbović told the RTL commercial television channel in the evening that the incident was politically motivated. Asked who was behind the demonstration, he named Luca Gašpar Šako, the local coordinator of the opposition Bridge party.

"They are not aware of the damage individuals are doing to Petrinja. Petrinja did not deserve this. It turns out that we are lawless cowboys wanting to achieve something by force," the mayor said. 

Monday, 1 February 2021

Entrepreneurs to Hold Protest Rally in Zagreb's Main Square on Wednesday

ZAGREB, 1 February, 2021 - The UGP association of entrepreneurs said on Monday that due to the decisions by the COVID response team that discriminated against entrepreneurs, they were organising a protest rally in Zagreb's main square on Wednesday, calling on entrepreneurs, tradesmen, employees and citizens to join them.

UGP said that the government and the national coronavirus response team were constantly making inconsistent and discriminatory decisions that had for months now been destroying micro, small ad medium-sized businesses. Many enterprises have been stripped of their constitutional right to work without any compensation or allowance. Unlike many other European countries, Croatia has not taken even one step to compensate enterprises, UGP said.

If you are banned from working, then you should be adequately compensated for, but the government just does not want to realise this, UGP claimed.

UGP said that a study by its economic advisory committee indicates that 7,000 companies had been in danger before the last lockdown and that their failure would create a HRK 3 billion deficit in the state budget.

"We reiterate that this jeopardised at least 49,000 jobs and as much as 10% of Gross Domestic Product. With the new lockdown these figures are even higher and 11,000 jobs have already been lost. If small and medium enterprises, as the pillar of the economy, go under, that will create a hole in the budget. How the government intends to finance healthcare, education and security?" the association wondered.

UGP noted that jobkeeping measures are supposed to help workers and not companies.

"Fixed costs will be covered only for the two months for the companies that are formally closed, while no one cares about the rest, some of which have seen their revenues plunge by over 90%, not even the Ministry of Economy. If this continues, there will not be any jobs left that will need saving," UGP warned.

UGP said it was time hundreds of parafiscal fees that burden citizens and the country were abolished, including mandatory membership fees payable to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts.

Monday, 30 November 2020

Restaurant and Cafe Owners Stage Protest Rally in Front of Finance Ministry

ZAGREB, November 30, 2020 - Dozens of restaurant and cafe owners whose businesses had to close last weekend due to new epidemiological restrictions expressed their dissatisfaction on Monday by staging a peaceful protest rally and lighting lanterns outside the Ministry of Finance.

The protest rally started before noon at Zagreb's main Trg Bana Jelacica square and ended at about 1 p.m., and the protesters estimate that there were several dozens of them.

From the main square, the protesters walked to Katanciceva Street, where the Finance Ministry's building is located, and they lit lanterns in front of the building.

The rally was not organised by any association, the protesters said, adding that it was a spontaneous gathering to protest against closing hospitality and other establishments, such as gyms, and to protest because tighter restrictions were introduced last weekend and operating was made difficult, which puts the survival of businesses, employees and owners themselves at risk.

Drazen Orescanin, representative of the Voice of Entrepreneurs association, said that the gathering was spontaneous and that they were waiting for the results of the meeting between hospitality stakeholders and entrepreneurs with ministers at the Ministry of Labour and Pension System, but what the government was offering was not in line with their requests, according to what he had heard.

"We will keep asking for the compensation to be fair and in accordance with other EU countries, so that everyone who had a significant drop in business is eligible. We also continue our fight for the survival of the economy, for which it is necessary to reduce the VAT rate and for government to make substantial reforms," Orescanin said.

In addition to owners of restaurants and cafe bars, owners of gyms, fitness clubs and others whose businesses cannot operate now also took part in the protest rally, warning that they can no longer survive in the new circumstances.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Charges Brought against Organizer of Zagreb Anti-COVID Protest Rally

ZAGREB, Nov 11, 2020 - Police have brought charges against the 27-year-old organizer and leader of the Anti-COVID protest rally that called for the dissolution of the national COVID-19 crisis response team for failing to ensure law and order and violating epidemiological rules.

They said that the 27-year-old man had not taken measures to ensure law and order, which resulted in the violation of measures introduced by the crisis response team, namely those related to keeping a safe distance and using protective face masks when that is not possible. In addition, the man did not warn protesters or stop the rally when he saw that they were not adhering to the measures in place.

Police said that the 27-year-old man had been informed about his duties as the organizer and leader of a public gathering when he reported the protest rally, and he had been warned to adhere to all epidemiological measures.

They added that the City of Zagreb's crisis response team had sent the instructions to the organizer of the  Anti-COVID protest rally.

Citizens dissatisfied with the work of the national coronavirus response team gathered at Zagreb's Central Railway Station on Sunday and walked towards the main square Trg Bana Jelacica where a dozen speakers addressed the demonstrators.

During their march, they did not adhere to epidemiological measures, such as keeping a safe distance or wearing protective masks.

Demonstrators carried banners with different messages, including those reading: "How dangerous is a virus if you need a test to know you have it?" and "This is not a matter of virus, but a matter of control."

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Monday, 9 November 2020

Protest Rally Against Coronavirus Restrictions Held in Zagreb

ZAGREB, November 9, 2020  - An estimated 1,000 people gathered in Zagreb's main square on Sunday to protest against the measures passed by the national coronavirus response team.

The protest was organised by a Facebook group which demands the dissolution of the COVID-19 crisis response team and which brings together more than 160,000 people.

The demonstrators started their march outside Zagreb's central Railway Station on Sunday afternoon and walked towards the Trg Bana Jelacica Square disrespecting the anti-COVID rules, such as wearing protective masks and keeping a distance.

They were addressed by a dozen speakers who criticised the national response team, politicians and the media, saying that face masks were not protective, that families were paid to sign a statement saying that their loved ones had died from coronavirus, and the pandemic was referred to as the so-called pandemic.

One of the speakers was a man who on 14 October threatened to attack the head of Zagreb's Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotic, while she was giving an interview for the N1 broadcaster. That incident took place in Zagreb when an N1 reporter was about to interview Markotic for N1 television channel's news bulletin and the attacker and one more person stopped next to the television crew and their guest and started yelling, threatening them and hurling insults at them.

The organisers of today's protest also said that the measures were political and aimed at "spreading panic and creating benefits for the ruling party and not the people."

Members of the national coronavirus response team have entangled healthcare with politics to such an extent that they have lost the trust of the people and have turned science into a laughing stock, which will have lasting and indelible consequences for public confidence in the medical profession, the organisers said in the invitation to the rally, adding that such behaviour must stop.

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said later on Sunday that the police would file a report on today's rally and after that decisions could be expected whether criminal reports would be filed.

Monday, 28 September 2020

International Safe Abortion Day Marked by Public Action in Split

September 28, 2020 - As a part of the International Safe Abortion Day, a public action 'I don’t want others to decide about my body' was held today in Split on Marmontova Street for the right of women to a safe and accessible medical procedure for abortion.

Domine is a feminist NGO, a non-profit and non-partisan association aimed at promoting women's rights, which has so far organized numerous protests and public actions to point out the problems that the female population is struggling with daily.

"In the 21st century, after the rights our grandmothers have exercised, we must take to the streets and say - I will not let others decide about my body. This is intended for the Ministry of Health and the irresponsible Government, which is unable to pass a law on the right to abortion, ie freedom to decide on the female body, which they owe us in a more modern way", said Mirjana Kučer, executive coordinator of the Domine Association.

"We want the new law to be passed by the decisions of the Constitutional Court, to be more modern and to improve opportunities for women's reproductive health, and not to be a step backward. It is inadmissible that a woman who has decided to have an abortion is brought in front of a commission and that she starts to reconsider that decision", she added.

The action, among others, was supported by the president of the Smart party, MP Marijana Puljak.

At the meeting, everyone adhered to the prescribed epidemiological measures, such as social distance and wearing a mask, following what was written in the invitation of the Domine association to public action.

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