news 18 Mar 13

Croatia PM Accuses Right-Wingers of Ethnic Hate

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic claimed right-wing parties were “spreading hatred” after Serb religious students were attacked near an Orthodox monastery.

Boris Pavelic
BIRN
Zagreb

“Parties of the right are spreading pure and distilled hate,” said Milanovic at a special news conference on Monday, the day after the Serb students were beaten up.

They were attacked by local youths wielding baseball bats and iron bars on the road from the village of Kistanje to Krka, a well-known medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery near the town of Knin.

Five students were injured, one of them seriously.

Representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia issued a statement saying that the motive for the attack was “exclusively religious and national hatred”.

Milanovic meanwhile made a plea for ethnic tolerance.

“We won’t allow hatred and that kind of fear,” he said.

He also claimed that “it is known who stands behind the incident”.

“Elections for the European parliament are on their way. The [right-wing] Croatian Democratic Union’s campaign is starting to deliver its first fruits,” he said.

The leadership of the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, didn’t comment on the attack, but the president of the HDZ branch in Kistanje, Roko Antic, told local media that “the incident occurred because Krka monastery is a hotbed of Chetnik [Serbian nationalist] ideology in Croatia”.

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