October the 28th, 2023 – The very controversial politician Ivan Pernar has shocked parents with his bizarre visits to various Zagreb schools and his picture taking sessions with students. The police are now involved.
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, groups of concerned parents and the general public, as well as the City of Zagreb’s administration itself, are appalled by the frankly bizarre behaviour and activities of the former MP and activist Ivan Pernar. It all started back in September. By jumping into the mayor’s protocols and “trolling” the public about the opening of a new roundabout on Trešnjevka, he once again entered the public space.
The very concerning manipulation of children?
However, the trolling of Tomislav Tomašević apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy Ivan Pernar, and now it seems that he has begun engaging underage children on social media, getting them to send him videos and photos. In the meantime, for some reason, Ivan Pernar has turned into some sort of hero to some of the students. As a result, he has been going on tours of schools in Zagreb, filming and photographing underage children without permission.
I went outside when recess started at around 10:10 and there were already a bunch of students gathered around him and he’d already started taking pictures with them,” a student told Dnevnik Nova TV. “There was commotion outside and a lot of noise, the school doors were locked and we saw Ivan Pernar arrive and start taking pictures, there was a crowd of students around him,” added another student.
Ivan Pernar is using social media to gain traction with minors
He announced his arrival to the students on social media, boasting that he had already visited six schools and said: “My goal is to visit all the schools in Zagreb and the surrounding area because the younger generations are the bearers of social change”. Principals say their hands are tied because Pernar is doing it in front of the schools on public ground, and not actually entering the properties.
I think what he’s doing is extremely dangerous. I have nothing against carrying out a normal campaign, but I think that this way is absolutely inappropriate and that it isn’t good, especially towards younger children, it’s absolutely unacceptable. I even heard that he treats them to drinks, pizza and takes them out places,” said Vjekoslav Ditrih, the director of one Zagreb school.
Parents are also worried and are taking Pernar’s strange behaviour very seriously. Three reports on the matter arrived at the address of the Ombudsperson for Children. An application was also received by the Data Protection Agency. The police are now investigating whether there are elements of a criminal act involved in what the politician is doing. The City of Zagreb has also commented on the case.
Appalling behaviour, says the city
“We’re appalled by this behaviour and consider it inadmissible and scandalous. By unauthorised entry and holding political and other activities in the premises and courtyards of schools with the aim of personal and political promotion, along with the unauthorised recording and public publication of photos of minor children and students, Mr. Pernar is threatening their rights and safety and violating a number of legal regulations and provisions,” they said from the City of Zagreb.
“We expect a rapid reaction from the police and other competent authorities, and we ask that they act in accordance with their powers,” they added from the city, appealing to politicians and all other persons not to engage with children and students in this way, especially on the premises of schools and kindergartens.