Thursday, 24. July 2014 - 12:07
13. 06. 11. - 14:00
Some 10,000 people came out to protest against the first ever gay pride parade in the Dalmatian town of Split, leading to 137 arrests amid the violence that ensued.
Crowds of thousands gathered to shout insults and throw stones at some 200 peaceful paraders, who were guarded by the police who activists say did not prepare properly for the unrest. Four hundred policemen were officially designated to guard the parade, although in reality 600 of them were on the streets, daily Jutarnji List writes.
About a dozen people were injured, including several reporters. At one point, protesters also threw tear gas at the parade. All of the participants had to be evacuated by the police later on.
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor have both condemned the violence. Josipovic said incidents in Split were not the "real face" of Croatia and they show that there still exist some "non-European" parts of society, Radio Free Europe reports.
Former Minister of Interior Sime Lucin said that police did not heed the warnings that abounded in the weeks leading up to the parade, such as anti-gay graffiti and hateful messages on the internet.
"It is hard to believe that 10,000 people gathered spontaneously," said Lucin. "With secret and other services that police have at their disposal, to make such a wrong estimate is awful."
The organisers of the parade have asked for the resignation of the current Interior Minister Tomislav Karamarko.
"The public gathering ended in violence. The route that the parade was supposed to take was not secured, and aggressors were allowed to throw explosive devices, Molotov cocktails, stones, ashtrays and other objects during the parade," organisations Kontra, Iskorak and Domine wrote in their statements.
They say the police permitted the protesters to narrow the passage for the participants of the parade and had encouraged the paraders to pass through the narrowed area even though they were being stoned.
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