A peaceful anti-war protest was held in Zagreb's main square at 6 pm on Thursday, eliciting a peaceful counter-protest by Croatian war and civil associations and a strong response from representatives of war veterans' associations.
The Interior Ministry yesterday banned the "Anti-war protest against the celebration of a war victory" organised, among other NGOs, by the Rosa Centre for Women War Victims from Zagreb, which prompted Rosa to say that a peaceful protest drive would nonetheless be held today.
Several activists protested today in silence, guarded by police. Representatives of Croatian war and civil associations counter-protested, also peacefully, while representatives of veterans' associations shouted "Chetniks," "Get out of Croatia" and What did we fight for".
Representatives of the counter-protest distributed a text in which they said that the participants in the anti-war drive were calling for "old hatreds and the restoration of circles which cost the nations of the former (Yugoslavia) terribly. By celebrating our liberating and just Operation Storm, we see you as an echo of a past that still goes on, but its time is over for good. That past would have continued if the love for freedom, for Croatia and all its citizens had not been the foundation of a glorious victory at this time in 1995".
The protest and the counter-protest lasted about half an hour, drawing about 100 counter-protesters and only a few protesters. The atmosphere was tense, there was pushing and shoving, and calls on the police to guard their citizens and not those working against Croatia.
On August 5, Croatia celebrates Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian War Veterans Day in honour of Operation Storm, which was launched on August 4, 1995, endinga four-year Serb insurgency in central and southern Croatia.