February 24, 2020 – MP Arsen Bauk SDP (Social Democratic Party) of Croatia has announced that he will file a criminal complaint against the organizers of the “Bakova povorka”, which took place in the town of Imotski, at the local police station for burning an effigy of a gay couple. Zoran Milanović, President of Croatia, has demanded an apology from organizers and an appropriate response from the relevant legal institutions.
Numerous comments have appeared on social networks condemning the Imotski carnival (Bakova povorka), where an effigy of a same-sex couple holding a child was burned at the ceremony to widespread cheers. The child was presented in the form of SDP MP Nenad Stazić with a five-pointed star (Yugoslavia) on his forehead, according to Ana Roksandić/RTL Dnevnik on February 24, 2020.
Bauk to File Complaint Under Article 325 Croatia Criminal Code
Arsen Bauk has announced that he will file a criminal complaint against Milivoj Đuka, the organizer of the carnival parade, at the Imotski Police Station on Monday for the offense noted under Article 325 of the Criminal Code of Croatia.
There is a tradition of masks in Dalmatia, in which the people normally express their dissatisfaction with powerful political and social figures. However, the lynching of minority groups runs contrary to that tradition.
Croatia President Demands Appropriate Response for Shameful Event
Croatia President Zoran Milanović also responded to the “shameful event” on Monday morning.
“The symbolic burning of same-sex partners with a foster child in Imotski is a sad, inhumane and totally unacceptable act in the guise of the ‘Bakova povorka’ festivities. The organizers who staged this shameful event, in the name of tradition, deserve the strongest public condemnation because of the hatred they have demonstrated toward for others. Intolerance and inhumanity are not and will not be a Croatian tradition. I am seeking their public apology and the approptiate response reaction from the relevant institutions, especially as many children watched this event, thus witnessing the spread of hatred and inciting violence,” he wrote on Facebook.
Former Croatia Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor reacted on Twitter:
“These arsonists in Imotski would set fire to all of us who are different for various reasons. They have no mercy on others because they have neither love nor hearts and do not care what kind of people they are. And the minister is still incompetent,” she wrote yesterday.
MP Bojan Glavašević also took to social networks to defend a same-sex couple, Ivo Šegota and Mladen Kožić, who want to adopt children.
Croatia Gay Couple More Patriotic Than Imotski ‘Arsonists’
“Mladen and Ivo are more patriotic, more courageous, and more of a (positive) example for the future of Croatia than those who burned their characters, and the character of the child they wish to provide a home for. Change is what all these “arsonists” are truly afraid of. And change is coming. Within it, Mladen and Ivo will find happiness, not the arsonists,” he wrote in a Twitter post.
Kožić: ‘I fear for all our friends who are already living with children in Croatia’
Mladen Kožić spoke to Hrvoje Krešić/N1 on Monday:
“This time I feel bad not only for myself, I am not afraid for either Ivo or myself, I fear for all our friends who are already living with children in Croatia,” Kožić said.
“We know two fathers with a daughter in our first neighborhood and I feel bad for them because I cannot imagine how it must be for them now, and how they will explain to their children what exactly has happened,” he added.
“Fortunately, there are no other problems in Imotski other than same-sex marriage and adoption of children, people are living so well there that all the gastarbeiters from this white world are packing and returning to their native Imotski, the people in Imotski have it so good, so good !!!”, one Twitter user observed sarcastically. Milivoj Đuka, the parade’s organizer, spoke to Dnevnik/HRT about the mass exodus from his hometown on June 21, 2015.
Interview with Đuka begins at 1:05.
Young Croatians Fleeing Imotski, Living Among Same Sex Couples Abroad
Thousands of young Croatians are fleeing to countries like Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria where gay marriage and adoption are legal, and are living among openly gay and lesbian couples with children.
Another user emphasized that, according to carnival tradition, culprits should be burned for adverse behavior, not for adopting a child.
“According to tradition the carnival is traditionally an event to set fire to the culprit for all the troubles of the past year, not an adopted child.
My Imotski. Shame on you,” the user responded.
Act of hate speech?
Another user wondered if the gay couple effigy burning at the Imotski carnival was an act of hate speech.
“Imotski 2020. They are still laughing when these alternative families of Rainbow colors fall into shambles. Isn’t this hate speech?” the Twitter user asked.
The effigy of the gay couple is set on fire at 1:41:15 | Boško Ćosić Photography