Thousands of Croatian citizens took to the streets to march for education and science this afternoon.
Today, scientists from all over the world come out of their labs, offices and lectures to mix in the company of everyone who believes in science and science-based education to be of the utmost importance. Symbolically, hundreds marched for science in defense of the freedom of research, questioning, and innate human curiosity, reports Dalmacija Danas and Slobodna Dalmacija on April 14, 2018.
The Croatian March for Science was held in both Zagreb and Split, and five minutes to noon took off from Đardin park in Split.
“We start our march on Saturday at 11.55 in front of the former University Library in Đardin, then we will descend onto Hrvojeva Street, which was once part of the Faculty of Economics, Maritime and Philosophy, through Poljana kraljice Jelene, precisely next to the Ivo Pilar Institute and the Faculty of Philosophy in Split – a space that is under increasing pressure for scientists to leave as it is an attractive location for hotels and hostels – then descend by Marko Marulić Street in front of the building of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts at Fruit Square and finish at the Riva,” organizer Mara Luka Baričić said in an announcement.
On the eve of the march, professor Frano Barbir emphasized that it is ridiculous and sad that in the 21st century, we have to fight for science.
“This is not a protest against something or someone. This is a protest for science. It has a damaged place in today’s society. That – the denial of scientific facts. Everything we have around us has been the result of scientific efforts over the centuries,” Barbir said.
Student Dora Bogdanović held an introductory speech to kick off the march. Her statements earned the great applause of the participants who then moved to Hrvojeva Street. The marchers were joined by the press and columnist Ante Tomić and Jurica Pavičić.
At each location, the protesters emphasized the importance of science. Every location has its symbolism. The marchers continued to note that less is invested in science in Croatia than in other EU countries.
“You have the right to an opinion, but it does not change the facts,” was just one of the poignant statements the marchers chanted.
“The march is committed to investing in research; we want to point to the necessity of scientific education. This is not a political set, but the goal is to send a message to them because unfortunately, it turns to politics and bickering. Science is not an ideology,” Barbir said.
The march ended with the words “Croatia loves knowledge, not pseudonyms”. They sent messages to the Government to invest more in science and scientists and to invest in our children’s knowledge of science for a better future.
According to estimates, more than a thousand people gathered in Zagreb for the march. Boris Jokić, a participant of the movement, warned that every year less and less is invested in science.
“Croatia as a society does not invest anything in science and culture. This country has not yet realized that this is the foundation of development and until it is understood, we must march,” said Jokić, adding that politicians are doing everything except what they need to, which is listen to the people.
“The only systematic investment in youth can be avoided by this apathy that governs. Croatia has the potential, but this potential has been systematically issued by those who lead this country,” concluded Jokić.