Monday, 29 November 2021

Man Who Took Al Jazeera Reporter's Microphone During Live Broadcast Arrested

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - Zagreb police have arrested a man who took an Al Jazeera reporter's microphone as she was reporting live from a recent protest against COVID certificates in Zagreb, and they filed a criminal report against him for using force against a person doing public interest work

Zagreb police officers have completed a criminal investigation into a 33-year-old man suspected of using force against a person doing public interest work or working in public service, the Zagreb Police Administration said on Monday.

Police have established the identity of the man who on 20 November, about 6 p.m., took the microphone from Al Jazeera Balkans reporter Nikolina Zavišić during a live broadcast from the protest against COVID certificates in the main city square.

Police today arrested the man and filed a criminal report against him with the competent state attorney's office.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

KBC Sisters of Charity: One Person From the Zagreb Protest Hospitalized

November 28, 2021 - The director of the KBC Sisters of Charity, one of the most important hospitals in Zagreb, spoke about the new coronavirus strain, hospitals situation, and protests against epidemiological measures in the capital, confirming that one of those who protested is hospitalized, and another young man in Dubrava as well.

The director of KBC Sisters of Charity Hospital, Davor Vagić, commented for N1 the appearance of a new variant of the coronavirus called omicron. Scientists consider this variant the most significant so far because the vaccine could be less effective, and it also seems to spread faster than delta strains, reports Net.hr.

"I am not worried, but I am careful. We analyze all the new information we get and see what needs to be done next. It definitely shows that this virus is not harmless, it is very dangerous and one should be careful not to spread and not get worse and this is a very serious situation", said Vagić the appearance of a new strain.

The president of the Homeland Movement, Ivan Penava, said the other day that ''bioterrorists'' are entering hospitals with COVID certificates, but Vagić claims that the measures in the hospitals are appropriate at the moment.

"The system is under a lot of pressure. The biggest pressure is on employees, COVID patients are difficult patients, they have difficulty moving, they need special health care and what we see now is the biggest pressure on nursing staff because it is one of the ones we have the least. There is huge pressure on the doctor as well. These people are doing hard and responsible work and in these two years we can say that in a way they are our heroes. If we talk about doctors, about 95 percent of them are vaccinated in Croatia. There is very little transfer of the virus, we don’t even see it and we can say that in some way hospitals are safe. Occasionally a transfer may occur, but this is negligible. The COVID confirmations are absolutely good", thinks the director of KBC Sisters of Charity.

“The health care system will certainly endure, rest assured. But it will be a huge burden, that's for sure", he added.

As for another protest against epidemiological measures taking place, he says he is saddened by it. "I don't think such things are necessary and that endangers the health of people who are protesting. They endanger themselves and others. We hospitalized one person from the protest, one young person was hospitalized in Dubrava as well. People can have an opinion, and the task of the profession, media, is to report what is best, what is true, to give people key information. The patient, the person must have all possible information. In the end, they are the ones who decide. There is perhaps too little talk about responsibility'', Vagić said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Ombudswoman Deplores COVID Demonstrators’ Assaults Against Reporters

ZAGREB, 21 Nov, 2021 - Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter on Saturday evening condemned in the strongest terms the violence and assaults against TV crews that were covering the march organised by anti-vaccine certificate protesters in Zagreb earlier in the day.

Šimonović Einwalter said in a press release that she condemned attempts by demonstrators to prevent reporters from doing their job while they were covering the rally in Zagreb's main square.

She also urges the authorities, including the law enforcement authorities and the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH), to thoroughly investigate the incidents and violence so that perpetrators can be held to account. In this way, the society will receive an unequivocal message about zero tolerance to violence against anybody, particularly against persons who do their job in the interest of the public, Šimonović Einwalter said.

The freedom of expression and particularly the freedom of he press is guaranteed by the constitution, she recalls.

Freedom of assembly and the right to to peacefully assemble do not exclude other human rights and they also do not justify verbal, physical and other violence, she writes in the press release.

A reporter of the RTL commercial broadcaster, Goran Latković, was attacked by two unidentified persons from behind as he was covering the rally, and they slapped him across the face twice, while a third person hit him in the rib cage.

Also, Nova TV and HTV crews were verbally assaulted at the rally, while a group of protesters took Al Jazeera reporter Nikolina Zavišić's microphone as she was reporting live.

On Saturday evening a group of protesters moved from Zagreb's central square to the part of the city where the HRT public broadcaster is located, demanding to see the HRT director and have their rally covered live and calling for an end to "censorship" by the HRT.

Dissatisfied with the way the HRT covered their protest in the central city square at 3 p.m., the protesters shouted "We want elections", "Referendum and people's rule", "Thieves", "Treason", "God's law is above all laws", demanding to see the HRT director and have their rally covered live. "This is no vaccine, this is poison", someone in the crowd could be heard saying while some protesters said the world was ruled by "Bill Gates, Talmudists and Soros's followers".

The protesters were met by riot police, with a dozen police vehicles blocking access to the HRT building.

Violence against reporters condemned by office-holders, associations, political parties

The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) and the Croatian Journalists Union (SNH) on Saturday strongly condemned an attack on RTL reporter Goran Latković at the protest, demanding a prompt police investigation and calling on the government to unequivocally condemn the incident.

The attacks by protesters on media workers were also condemned by the government spokesman, the minister of culture and the Office of the President.

The Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) said on Saturday evening that the freedom to assembly did not include the right to violence and said that the attacks against reporters "resemble dark times" and called on all the political parties to stand up for the protection of the journalistic profession."

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Saturday, 20 November 2021

RTL Reporter Attacked During Zagreb Protest Against COVID-19 certificates

ZAGREB, 20 Nov, 2021 - RTL television reporter Goran Latković was attacked during a protest against mandatory COVID-19 certificates in Zagreb on Saturday while covering the event.

At the protest, which draw several thousand people from all around the country, Latković was attacked from behind and he sustained two blows to the head, rib cage and elbow.

As he was attacked from behind, the reporter did not see his attackers.

He confirmed to Hina that he would report the incident to the police.

The RTL television reported about the incident involving its reporter.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Thousands Gather at Voice of Entrepreneurs Association Protest in Zagreb

February 3, 2021 - Thousands gathered at the Voice of Entrepreneurs Association protest held today at Ban Jelacic Square in Zagreb. 

Lifting discriminatory measures, regularly paying compensation for employees, canceling parafiscal taxes and mandatory membership fees, and the departure of Economy Minister Tomislav Coric were the demands heard at the protest organized by the Voice of Entrepreneurs Association (UGP) in Zagreb's Ban Jelacic Square.

Jutarnji List reports that between five and ten thousand people gathered at the protest today.

Although the UGP called for adherence to epidemiological measures, many did not wear masks, and it was difficult to maintain a distance.

Some of the banners read: "What is the plan?", "Why can't Croatia be economically strong?", "Andrej, it's enough!". 

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Entrepreneurs and citizens from all over Croatia came to protest. As the executive director of UGP Dražen Oreščanin said at the press conference, several buses arrived from Dalmatia, Kvarner, Bjelovar, Varaždin, and Vinkovci, to name a few.

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UGP President Hrvoje Bujas was not able to attend the protest because he tested positive for COVID-19. 

Oreščanin said that everything UGP does is out of any policy and that it is about advocating for a better life and entrepreneurs' rights, who in Croatia are, in his words, "second-class citizens."

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"This morning I spoke to the Minister of Labor Josip Aladrović and suggested that all ministers and others from the public sector receive a salary of 4,000 kuna until the end of this year, to which he replied that it was a quality proposal and that he would consider it," Oreščanin said. 

He added that until the opening of the now-closed facilities, UGP asks the Government and the Civil Protection Headquarters for any compensation, even a one-time compensation, because "people literally have nothing to live on anymore."

His statements were accompanied by chanting and approval of those gathered at the Square, and when he asked them what they had to say to the Minister of Economy Tomislav Ćorić, it was mostly: "Resign!" and "Enough is enough!".

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The slogan of the protest is "Enough is enough" and "Why Croatia?". The latter, Oreščanin explained, relates to entrepreneurs who are wondering why Croatia cannot be a competitive, successful and country of satisfied people, and said that the government and politicians should respond.

The representative of the catering segment, Ana Lisak, told Hina that they have recorded a drop in turnover of more than 70 percent and that it means nothing to them what they can deliver when only one percent of the business does so.

"Let everyone know that we are financially on our knees, but it is as if no one cares much about it because it is a pandemic, and we have to be patient. We are patient, we have not worked for almost a year, and many of us who have some funds pay workers and additionally above the state 4,000 kuna, because we do not want to lose them as well as our companies," said Lisak.

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The president of the Independent Association of Zagreb Caterers, who attended the protest in front of the National Association of Caterers, Zaklina Troskot, told Hina that they are not satisfied with the measures of the headquarters and the government because they are "discriminatory and totally unfair."

"The Government's expectation that two activities - the catering and fitness industry, will save people from a pandemic, is completely unacceptable for us, and people are therefore desperate. If we do not get tax relief and any compensation, it will be difficult for us to work when we open because we will then face a lack of money to purchase, equip and pay the bills," Troskot said, adding that any help would come in handy.

At around 11 am, the protesters calmed and stopped chanting, but they did not disperse or intend to for the next few hours.

The caterers from the Square brought them "coffee-to-go" on trays. Some commented that no coffee, not even open restaurants, will help them survive this year without support and fair government measures.

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Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Bujas and Oreščanin: Why Should You Come to Zagreb Protest? Because There are Two Croatias

February 3, 2021 - On Wednesday at 10 am, a protest of entrepreneurs and caterers will be held at the main square in Zagreb. Voice of Entrepreneurs President Hrvoje Bujas and Executive Director Dražen Oreščanin on why you should attend the Zagreb protest. 

The Voice of Entrepreneurs Association initiated the action. It was planned to warn of the inequality of epidemiological measures and insufficient economic measures for companies affected by the corona crisis. It gained an extra dimension after the repression of several entrepreneurs and caterers who opened their premises in protest on Monday, culminating in the detention of gym owner Andrija Klarić.

Index.hr asked the key players of Voice of Entrepreneurs why they think people should come to Ban Jelačić Square on Wednesday at 10 am.

Oreščanin: The main reason for coming to the protest are the statements of Plenković and Ćorić
UGP Executive Director Dražen Oreščanin says that the key reasons in recent days have been given by the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Minister of Economy Tomislav Ćorić.

"I think the main reason why every citizen should come to the Square could be heard in recent days from Prime Minister Plenković and Minister Ćorić. The way they talked about UGP, a citizens' association, and the way they talked about political opponents shows that they have no understanding of what democracy is and that they have no understanding of the people, to whom power belongs in democratic regimes."

"We don't know if we should laugh or cry; we can understand their statements as a threat."
He once again referred to the statements of Ćorić and Plenković.

"One does not know whether they should laugh or cry at their accusations. Minister Ćorić's statements last night during Otvoreno and Prime Minister Plenković's statements can be read as an open threat. The first concrete action to show that the threat is serious is the arrest of gym owner Andrija. It is a serious derogation from democratic principles; we as a nation must fight for our rights," Oreščanin said.

"We are fighting for a country of happy citizens that will not be held hostage by politics."
"We are fighting by absolutely legal means for the rights of entrepreneurs, employees, all citizens, and for Croatia 2.0, a country of happy citizens that will not be held hostage by politics," he added.

Several thousand people are expected to protest.

"Over 3,200 people signed up on Facebook, over 1,200 through official registrations, and at least 800 caterers and about 200 people from Rijeka should arrive. It is realistic to expect from 1,000 to 5,000 people, and maybe more," says Oreščanin.

An appeal to all who come to protest
He appeals to everyone who comes to the Square to adhere to epidemiological rules and general rules of conduct.

"It is necessary for everyone at the Square to adhere to epidemiological measures and for everyone who will make a statement to be polite, to express their opinion in a dignified manner. It is essential to keep in mind that people may be involved as provocateurs even after these threats from the top authorities. That is why we appeal to people not to fall prey to any provocations," he noted.

"Andrija Klarić said he would come and invited everyone to come."
He said that the detained gym owner was also coming, who was released last night.

"Andrija Klarić said that he would come and he invited everyone to come, we will help him in the legal battle," said Oreščanin.

"We believe that it will be the day when the government will finally start listening to the citizens and working in the interest of the citizens."

He sent a clear message ahead of the protest.

"Our message is in the entrepreneurial sense that there must be no discrimination, that people should be fairly compensated and that measures should be fair, but it is also broader than that. The message to Plenković is that we are not a small group of instigators; there are people in this country who have the right to rule. In democracies, the government is there to serve its people, not to humiliate, insult and drive them into pens like sheep. We believe that tomorrow will be the day when the government will finally start listening to the citizens and working in the interest of the citizens," Oreščanin concluded.

Bujas: It is crystal clear that staying at home or acting on Facebook has not achieved anything all this time
Index also asked the President of the Voice of Entrepreneurs, Hrvoje Bujas, the same question - why does he think that people should come to the protest at Ban Jelačić Square?

"It is crystal clear that nothing has been achieved by staying at home or acting on Facebook all this time. We have not received any adequate economic measures or a clear plan when it comes to epidemiological measures.

We demand that others who are on their knees and who have a large drop in traffic be compensated, but also that the implementation of all this is far, far more efficient. It is up to two, two and a half months late with the compensation of 4,000 kuna, which is actually paid to the employees," Bujas said.

He said that their message was much broader than economic measures for the corona crisis and aimed at changing Croatian society for the better.

"All of you who dream of a fairer Croatia - come to the square."
"We are looking for key reforms; we can't say it doesn't matter because we are all very concerned. Let all the people who come to the Square say what they think, we will set up a camera, and everyone will have thirty seconds to say what they have. Let the government see that there is a Croatia that is thrown to its knees that does not know what will happen tomorrow. We expect from the government a clear plan for vaccination and measures, which we never received, and we expect reforms.

All of you who want to hear a clear plan, who are looking for efficient economic measures, who dream of a fairer Croatia, come to the Square," Bujas said.

He says they have been treated as enemies by the authorities in recent days.

"It is not clear to me why Plenković tolerates Ćorić, who is the main reason for the failure of the negotiations."
"The Voice of Entrepreneurs has been giving a hand to those in power since day one, which is normal if we want to achieve some changes, but we cannot be manipulated, and it bothers them. I can even publicly praise most ministers, except one - Tomislav Ćorić. He never answered our email, he did not want to be found, and de facto interrupted the negotiations that were going in the right direction. My question is why Plenković tolerates Ćorić. I can't figure it out. We remain persistent in demanding Ćorić's resignation. We are looking for a man who can give a solution, not deepen the crisis. The direct culprit for the termination of negotiations and for our taking to the streets is Minister Ćorić. In a way, we are also endangering our health, although everyone at the Square will adhere to all measures. I received a positive rapid test for COVID-19, and I will certainly not come to the Square tomorrow to endanger anyone's health, but that is the only reason I will stay at home. I call on everyone who comes to adhere to epidemiological measures and to be responsible people; I understand the frustration, but let us show an example of how to behave in a public space and how to keep healthy," Bujas told Index.

"There are two Croatias. In one Croatia, people go to the stock market, and in the other, everything is fine, and salaries are still rising."
But he says that doesn't mean people at the protest shouldn't say what they think.

"Say everything that is on your mind because they obviously live in another Croatia, where everything is fine. There are two Croatians. In one Croatia, people go to the stock exchange, and in the other, everything is fine, and salaries are still rising. Why don't they hear that there is also that Croatia where everything is not right, where people are on their knees? Who are we insulting when we tell the truth? " Bujas wonders.

"Any repression at the protest would be the twilight of democracy."
He hopes there will be no problems with the police at the protest, which reacted rather repressively on Monday when some entrepreneurs and caterers opened their facilities in protest.

"Any repression at the protest would be the twilight of democracy; these are people who want to say everything they think."

Mate Janković: Why will I be at the Square? Because I don’t want to play under these rules anymore
The famous chef Mate Jaković, who has been cooking in Banija with other volunteer chefs in recent weeks, also announced his arrival at the protest.

He explained why he was coming to the protest.

"Why will I be at the Square on Wednesday at 10.00? It has nothing to do with Covid or the measures. The business climate in this country was bad before Covid. We were backward, corrupt, and a bad society before, and there is a huge chance that we will stay that way after Covid. That's the main reason I'm coming. Nothing in my life has motivated me enough to go out on the road and express dissatisfaction, but grumbling on Facebook is no longer an option. I can no longer stand by and act like I don't care because it's just not true. I've had enough. I'll either try to change as much as possible, or I'll go to another country and build my life there. But under these rules, I don't want to play anymore," Janković wrote.

The protest announcement 
The Voice of Entrepreneurs Association previously published an announcement of the protest in which it explained its reasons for the protest.

"If entrepreneurs and workers are banned from working, which is a constitutional and human right, they should be adequately compensated. Why is Croatia not a country equal for all, for those in the public and those in the private sector? Why are entrepreneurs second-class citizens who are not cared for by their government? It is time to hear the voice of the people, the voice of reason, and the voice of entrepreneurs! We invite all entrepreneurs, craftspeople, employees, and citizens to join us. Each of them will say, from 10 am on the Square, one by one, and through live stream: Enough is enough! Enough bad crisis management! It is enough that entrepreneurs and employees in the private sector are second-class citizens. Why is Croatia not a country of equals?" reads the beginning of the protest announcement published by the Voice of Entrepreneurs.

"The Government of the Republic of Croatia and the National Civil Protection Headquarters have been destroying micro, small and medium enterprises for months with inconsistent, discriminatory, and bad decisions. Many entrepreneurs have had their constitutional right to work revoked without any compensation. Unlike many European countries, Croatia has not taken a single step to compensate entrepreneurs. If the right to work is prohibited, it should be adequately compensated. However, the Government of the Republic of Croatia does not seem to want to understand that. Entrepreneurs care about their health and respect the government's decisions, even when they are illogical and discriminatory. But this action is a painful cry with which we want to say: The Government of the Republic of Croatia, you have forgotten those who feed you. Recall, job preservation measures are helpful for workers, not for companies. Fixed costs will be reimbursed in just two months to those who are formally closed, while for all others, some of which have a drop in turnover of more than 90 percent, no one cares, not even our Ministry of Economy. If this continues, there will be no jobs to be saved at all," they write.

They added that they had enough of the highest taxes in Europe.

"Well, we have had enough of the injustice that entrepreneurs have suffered since the beginning of the crisis, we have had enough of the highest taxes in the European Union, we have had enough of double standards, and we have had enough of discriminatory decisions. We believe that we have everything we need to be a prosperous and competitive country. Still, it is time for the Republic of Croatia's Government to listen to experts and entrepreneurs finally.

For these reasons, we are organizing an action to show that citizens are dissatisfied with the poor management of the crisis and to make their voices heard. Entrepreneurs and their employees in times of greatest crisis seek help to survive from a system that they have been financing for decades and in which they are paying billions of kuna. It is time for that same system to start taking care of them in an adequate way.

We see the crisis as an opportunity to reset a system that has not served society for years. It is also time to abolish the hundreds of parafiscal taxes that burden the citizens of this state. Also, we believe that now is the opportunity to abolish the payment of mandatory membership fees in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts, which are just another in a series of taxes for entrepreneurs," the statement said.

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