Estimated 2,000 Rally in Rijeka in Support to Man Accused of Viškovo Incident

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, August 29, 2019 – A rally in support of Matko Škalamera, who was accused by a 70-year-old man of having hurt him based on his ethnicity, was held outside the jail in Rijeka on Wednesday evening, bringing together about 2,000 people, according to some estimates.

The rally, which was announced by a local group of fans of the Rijeka football club on Tuesday evening, took place today as planned, although earlier in the day Škalamera was released from investigative custody.

One of the leaders of the fan group, Đoni Božić, said that they had come outside the prison to express support to Matko Škalamera and all future cases such was this.

Božić warned that they would like that there would be no cases of “media lynching and agitating journalism and something like this anymore”.

Another leader of the Armada fan club, Denis Povh, said that injustice inflicted to Matko Škalamera was the reason why they had gathered for this rally.

“Those whose duty is to call for freedom and who most frequently invoke freedom of expression, have deprived this man, who has rescued thousands of people, of freedom,” he said referring to the fact that Škalamera is a distinguished member of Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS).

Povh accused thus, media of playing games together with politicians with an aim of raising tensions.

“We do not need unprofessional reporters who make headlines out of accusing ordinary people, while they are afraid of publishing the names of criminals and murderers. We do not need politicians who fight for their own interests only while failing to protect us. We do not need the judiciary which facilitates political games,” said Povh.

The rally lasted 30 minutes, and then protesters dispersed peacefully.

Škalamera, 42, who was arrested by the police on Saturday morning on suspicion of threatening and inflicting bodily harm to Dobrivoje Arsić, 70, in an argument about a parking place in the Rijeka suburb of Viškovo on 20 August, was released from investigative custody in Rijeka on Wednesday afternoon. After the 20 August incident in Viškovo, Škalamera was apprehended this past Saturday (24 August) and a 30-day investigative detention was set for him on Sunday. The Rijeka court cited a possibility of the suspect influencing witnesses as the reason why Škalamera was behind bars.

On Tuesday afternoon, five witnesses for the defence were questioned and Arsić and his wife were also questioned in their flat on Wednesday morning, so there were no more reasons for Škalamera to remain behind bars.

Earlier on Wednesday, Arsić admitted to reporters that the whole situation had got out of control and claimed that he had told the prosecutorial authorities that the 42-year-old man should be freed. from custody.

Arsić and the suspect had an argument about a parking place in front of a block of flats at Viškovo in the evening on 20 August. After the row, Arsic told media that Škalamera had threatened and beaten him because he was Serb, and also filed a report against him.

HGSS posted on its Facebook profile yesterday that “Matko Škalamera is undergoing an exceptionally difficult time in his life at the moment as a result of a totally unjustifiable media lynching considering the charges pressed.”

HGSS added that their members do not discriminate against anyone based on national, racial or any other basis. “We consider any form of discrimination against any human being as unacceptable for our society,” HGSS said.

More Rijeka news can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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