Write concer letter: violence on Zagreb Pride 2007

16/07/2007
Submitted by Zagreb Pride 2007

Dear friends and Zagreb Pride 2007 supporters and collaborators,

we have written a short report on human rights violation on and after Zagreb Pride together with picture documentations. More than 20 marchers had been the target of homophobic attacks around 10 people were hurt, with two needing medical treatment. Police arrested 13 people on a Pride day; five of them were carrying Molotov cocktails. From Monday on 2 more people were attacked and organizers continuously receive death threats on SMS and email. One person so far has been charged for endangering lives of many people and hate crime based on sexual orientation, for planning the attack with Molotov cocktails. This is the first time that someone is being charged with hate crime, provision that was introduced to the Criminal Code in 2006. No other person was charged for other attacks. Zagreb Pride Organizing Committee and LGBTIQ Coordination of Croatia have requested, among other things, from the President of Croatia and the Government to condemn attacks and name them hate crimes and homophobic attacks. So, far, none of them has done so.

Death threats, attacks on LGBT activists have continued the whole previous week. Please read report on police behavior in the station after we all were attacked written by Mitja Blazic from DIH and Ljubljana Pride, "sister pride" of Zagreb Pride.

Please write concern/complain letter to following institutions and demand from Croatian Prime minister and President of the Republic to condemn attacks and name them "hate crimes" and "homophobic attacks".


In solidarity,

Marko Jurcic for Zagreb Pride 2007


ZAGREB PRIDE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
ZAGREB PRIDE 2007


Report on violence during and after the Zagreb Pride 2007

Sixth Zagreb Pride with theme „Visibility – Right to Public of LGBTIQ persons“ took place on July 7, 2007. Pride March started at noon from Trg maršala Tita. As was the case so far, participants were surrounded by police cordon. According to our estimate, police was less visibly present around the March, but was located all around in nearby streets. Before the Pride March, police announced through media that Pride will be securing 500 police officers, part of whom in full gear.

During the March there were numerous insults, spitting and homophobic comments and provocations made by gathered citizens. Police reacted to some of these incidents. When the March arrived at the main city square, Trg bana Jelačića, and came to a stop there, we noticed something happening and police intervention. Later on it was announced that a group of younger people, minors among them, attempted to throw Molotov cocktails and tear gas at the participants. There is photo documentation that at least one of explosive bottles was already lit. Police took in the attacker and held him but charged only with misdemeanor. It was only after that that State Attorney's Office initiated criminal procedure against Josip Šitum. This is the first time that someone is being charged with hate crime, provision that was introduced to the Criminal Code in 2006.

We also received information that two days prior to Pride one man tried to put the rainbow flag on fire. Four big rainbow flags were put up on the poles on the main city square on July 4 to announce beginning of Pride week. Police did not inform the public about that attempt.

According to our information, the first attack happened when the March arrived to the Cvjetni Trg, the place of public assembly. One of the March participants who stepped out of the gated area to make a phone call has been physically attacked by blows in head and kidneys. As the attacker continued verbal attacks and police was about to transport them in the same vehicle, victim of the assault tried to spit back and accidentally spit on the police officer. Police took the victim and put him into the cell with the attackers and other homophobic persons that were taken into custody as preventive measure. He was maltreated by the police and ended up in the psychiatric hospital where he was given sedatives. The next day, on Sunday, he was taken to judge and convicted for offending police officer for a year of conditional discharge or twenty days in prison.

The place of public assembly was adequately secured, but numerous incidents that followed showed that police did not act in preventive manner in the city center, and it also failed to intervene. There were reports that groups of younger people are planning organized attacks on March participants after program ends. If this information was available to journalists who approached these groups and presented themselves as their sympathizers, police must have had them and act on them.

Since 3 pm to 9 pm, there were at least six attacks carried out by organized gangs on thirty to forty participants who were walking in the city in smaller groups. At least twelve persons had suffered smaller injuries, while two persons were hospitalized. All of them were homophobic attacks and attacked persons were recognized by attackers as March participants. Many attacked persons were activists and/or foreign citizens, including three members of the Zagreb Pride Organizing Committee. We have informed the media that the whole afternoon of the Pride day instead of law enforcement, city was occupied by violent gangs.

After one of the attacks to which Pride organizers and their guests from Slovenia, Italy and Germany were exposed, police took attacked persons to the police where they waited to give their statements in the same room with attackers from another group. This was the group involved with Molotov cocktails (two women and one skinhead). This attack took place in the city center and two people suffered lighter injuries and another Pride guest, Italian senator and member of Italian Delegation to the Parliament of the Council of Europe Gianpaolo Silvestri. Deputy of the Head of the Police Station Davor Jurjević requested that couple from Slovenia does not sit to close to each other, and does not kiss or touch. When one of the Zagreb Pride organizers, Franko Dota asked the police officer for identification and pointing out discriminatory behavior, he was taken into room for conversations where he was told he can be charged with slander, offending official and offending moral feelings of citizens. Marko Jurčić, another Pride organizer, was also asked to intervene and warn everyone present regarding „rules of behavior“. There was also verbal conflict between activist from Slovenia, Mitja Blažič, who was hurt and injured in the attack and police inspector who refused to include his statement in the statement document.

Last information about attacks was received around 8:30 pm when one person from Sweden and another from the Netherlands went out of the apartment, where they were staying while visiting for Pride, to the store across the street. Group of the attackers recognized them from the tram, got out of the tram and attacked them. Both of them got injuries in the head and managed to escape to the apartment and it took half an hour for the police to get to the place of the attack.

Around 11 pm, in Draškovićeva street in the city center, close to the headquarters of fan group Bad Blue Boys (BBB), of soccer club Dinamo Zagreb, few witnesses, including the Ombudsperson for Sex Equality, noticed group of 50 to 70 fans who were drumming and singing „Kill faggot! Faggots into chains!“

Violent incidents have continued after the Pride day. One of the organizers, Franko Dota, received three txt messages with life threats, and on Tuesday, July 10 around 8 pm he was recognized and attacked by three to four people that came out of the BBB spaces of the Association of fan club Dinamo. In the night from Wednesday to Thursday, Viktor Zahtila, gay activist and participant of Pride was attacked in the broader city center. Both of these homophobic attacks are related to Pride.

Zagreb Pride Organizing Committee and LGBTIQ Coordination of Croatia have requested, among other things, from the President of Croatia and the Government to condemn attacks and name them hate crimes and homophobic attacks. So, far, none of them has done so.

For Zagreb Pride Organizing Committee:
Franko Dota, Jelena Poštić i Marko Jurčić

We deeply support anyone who reads this to file complains and concern letters to the following persons:

Government:

* Prime minister: predsjednik@vlada.hr (Ivo Sanader)
* Address: Trg svetog Marka 2, 10 000 Zagreb
* Tel: +385 1 4569 222
* Fax: +385 1 6303 023
* Web : http://www.vlada.hr
* E-mail:

predsjednik@vlada.hr
glasnogovornik@vlada.hr
ratko.macek@vlada.hr

Ministry of internal

* Minister: Ivica Kirin
* Address: Ulica grada Vukovara 33, 10 000 Zagreb
* Tel: +385 1 6122 111
* Fax: +385 1 6122 452
* E-mail: pitanja@mup.hr
* E-mail: javnost@mup.hr
* Web : http://www.mup.hr
* Web : http://www.policija.hr

Ministry of Justice

* Ministress: Ana Lovrin
* Address: Dežmanova ulica 6 i 10, 10000 Zagreb, Hrvatska
* Web : http://www.pravosudje.hr/
* tel. +385 1 3710 600
* Fax. +385 1 3710 602
* e-mail: ministrica@pravosudje.hr

Omudsman (Human rights defender):

Pučki pravobranitelj – Ombudsman: Jurica Malčić

* Address: Opatička 4, 10000 Zagreb
* Tel: +385.1.48.51.855
* Fax. +385.1.63.03.014
* Email: ombudsman@inet.hr

President of Croatia:

* President: Stjepan Mesic
* Chef of President’s Office: Boris Šprem
* Address: Pantovčak 241, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
* Tel: ++ 385 1 4565 191, ++ 385 1 4565 133
* Fax: ++ 385 1 4565 299, ++ 385 1 4565 208
* Emails:

ured@predsjednik.hr
Ariana.Krhen@predsjednik.hr
Boris.Sprem@predsjednik.hr
Zdenka.Primorac@predsjednik.hr
Zdravko.Galic@predsjednik.hr

Delegation of the European Commission to the Republic of Croatia:

Vincent Degert, Head of the Delegation of the European, Commission to the Republic of Croatia

* Address: Trg žrtava fašizma 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
* Phone: + 385 1 4896 500
* Fax: + 385 1 4896 555
* E-mail: delegation-croatia@ec.europa.eu

Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Croatia:
* http://www.mfa.hr/MVP.asp?pcpid=1613

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