Plenković Slams SDP Officials’ Response to Cafe Owner’s Statement

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“Grbin’s statement is pathetic, erroneous, wrong, incorrect, and totally politically misplaced,” Plenković said in Šibenik when asked by the press for his opinion on Grbin’s comment.

“It would have been better had he condemned the statement of that gentleman from the ‘Three Monkeys’ cafe,” Plenković said, adding that Grbin had probably failed to follow the developments and had become involved in the whole affair belatedly and in a wrong manner.

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Grbin has said that Plenković’s attempt to compare the position of HDZ members to Jews “was below any level”.

In mid-February the owner of the Rijeka-based cafe called “Three Monkeys” stated on his Facebook page that he barred the HDZ party’s members and sympathisers from entering his property. The cafe owner Tomislav Kovačević wrote on his Facebook account that members and voters of the HDZ “are personae non gratae” in his cafe, citing his feeling of humiliation by the HDZ party.

Plenković said today that “if somebody says that members, sympathisers and voters of the HDZ are not welcome, this amounts to discrimination.”

Plenković also underscored that he had responded to the cafe owner’s statements after nobody in the public reacted to those Facebook posts.

“If, for instance, a cafe owner who happens to be a member of the HDZ had said that he would not welcome members, sympathisers and voters of SDP, Serbs, Jews, Roma and members (of the Rijeka football fans’ association) Armada, to his establishment, this would have caused furious protests,” Plenković added.

He said that he had also responded to cafe owner Kovačević’s claims that Plenković calls anybody who criticises the HDZ “a Serbian Chetnik”.

“He says that of me, after our huge efforts against a series of political actors in the parliament who would like to eliminate minorities from the national legislature, who are against the coalition with minorities in Croatia, who are against reconciliation and against coexistence and the protection of minority rights. I must stand up and say ‘No’ for the sake of European and Croatian values and the prosperity of the Croatian society and inclusion,” the HDZ leader said.

On Monday, Plenković called out SDP senior officials Vojko Obersnel and Zlatko Komadina for their tepid or no response to the cafe owner’s posts.

A few days after Kovačević’s decision on the ban of entry of HDZ members and voters, the mayor of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel, called for defusing tensions.

“I can understand the revolt and emotions of the owner of that cafe as well as the feeling of impotence and humiliation prevailing among many restaurateurs and other business owners in other sectors who are suffering from the consequences of this long period of lockdown. However, I appeal for humanity, tolerance and understanding that exist in the hearts of all residents of Rijeka,” Obersnel wrote in his statement on 14 February.

He went on to say that the novel virus is at the core of the problem and that the virus is not easy to control and that it is the original enemy, dangerous for everybody.


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