Politicians Ask Citizens to Insult Them

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Several opposition MPs have organised a performance in Zagreb, in protest over prison sentences for football fans who recently insulted State Secretary for Sports, Janica Kostelić.

After inviting citizens to insult them, SDP’s MPs Peđa Grbin, Bojan Glavašević and Arsen Bauk organised a performance in Bogovićeva Street in the centre in Zagreb to symbolically protest against the actions undertaken by state institution towards football fans who recently insulted Janica Kostelić, famous former Croatian athlete and current State Secretary for Sports, reports Večernji List on June 13, 2017.

Grbin said that that the inappropriate verbal attack on Kostelić and the authorities’ reaction were two separate things. “We came here to warn that everyone should be treated equally. The police cannot treat the behavior of citizens differently, depending on who is the victim of such behaviour,” said Grbin. He added that the incident on the island of Brač was unacceptable, but that the police response was not adequate.

Bauk wondered what the police would do if a whole stadium were chanting insults. “Would they put 5,000 people in prison,” he asked. Offenders should be ”legally held responsible for their actions,” stated Bauk, stressing that people could not be put in jail for insulting someone. He also added that public figures must be able to handle insults.

The three MPs were joined by MP Ivan Pernar (Živi Zid) who said that he was not insulted by anyone at the performance. While some of the citizens stopped to talk to the MPs, others were trying to come up with creative insults. However, instead of insulting, a large number of citizens came to criticize politicians. One of them was whistleblower Vesna Balenović.

“You are a disgrace for Croatia. I would call you apes. Both those in power and in opposition, you should not appear among the citizens because you have participated in the government that stomps on the citizens. We have been waiting for a law on whistleblowers protection for 17 years. I commend your courage that you came here, but I see you just came to collect cheap political points. You should be ashamed of yourself”, said Balenović.

Pernar called on Balenović to send him a draft bill on whistleblowers which he would then officially propose. “Since 1990, you have all been crooks. You should be stomped out. You take things from people who do not have anything, and you increase your salaries” – there were just some of the insults. “Is former Justice Minister Orsat Miljenić here? I will strangle him because of the Enforcement Act. But they will interpret that as a threat,” said one woman.

The MPs argued that their symbolic gesture had a goal of demonstrating a problem and that their point was not to make people really insult anyone.


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