Politically Controversial Monuments in Croatia Under Siege

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The monument of Franjo Tuđman, Croatia’s first president, in Zagreb is becoming a regular target of political protests. In January, the Communist hammer and sickle symbol was drawn on it, and just two days ago it was hit with eggs. This was only one of many attacks on what some consider politically controversial monuments in Croatia, reports Večernji List on February 16, 2019.

The hammer and sickle symbol was drawn by Filip Drača, a 24-year-old protester who was identified by the police and reported for a misdemeanour against public order and peace. He is one of few who has been fined for his vandalism since the police very rarely find the culprits, especially if the monuments being attacked are anti-fascist. For example, we still do not know who vandalised the monument to Partisan hero Ivo Lola Ribar twice in late 2017, after which the monument’s head was stolen. The Ustasha symbol U was drawn on the monument, which has not been attacked since.

“They have forgotten that it is here, which is normal because the people who write such things are not too clever,” said one Zagreb citizen. He believes that the same will happen with the Tuđman monument. “It is a new monument, so now there are some wise guys who do not like it. They will get used to it,” he said.

Ivo Lola Ribar is not the only antifascist whose monuments have been vandalised. Similar Ustasha signs appeared a year ago on the monument to the victims of fascism at Dotrščina, the location where several thousand people were killed during the Nazi occupation of Zagreb from 1941 to 1945. This is just one of the hundreds of antifascist monuments in Croatia which have been attacked and/or completely destroyed in recent years.

Still, not all attacks against monuments are intentional, like for example the one on famous inventor Nikola Tesla. It was hit accidentally by a delivery van, so it had to be temporarily removed from the intersection of Preradovićeva St. and Masarykova St. Before it was removed for repair, some of the more irresponsible citizens liked to use it to put garbage and cigarette butt ends in it. At least no one vandalised it with primitive symbols or had his head stolen.

Interestingly, the tradition of stealing heads of monuments began in antiquity, when people would take heads of statues of people they did not like. If you do something like that in Croatia and damage the property, you can get between six months and five years of prison. Unless of course, it is an antifascist monument, in which case you can be sure no one will ever find you.

More political news can be found in the dedicated section.


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