Veterans’ Tent Could Be Removed Before Parliamentary Elections

Total Croatia News

After ten months of protest, is the veterans’ tent coming down? 

The tent in front of the Ministry of Veteran Affairs in Zagreb could soon be removed due to the forthcoming parliamentary elections, after ten months of provoking political and social conflicts. Josip Klemm, one of the leaders of veterans’ protests, confirmed that they are considering removing the tent, reports Novi List on August 20.

“Nothing has been decided yet, but it is a serious idea under consideration. We want to show that we do not participate in politics and do not help or hinder any political option. We are interested only in veterans’ rights. For months, we have presented arguments that this government did not do what was needed. However, we are not going to get involved in the parliamentary elections”, said Klemm. If he, Đuro Glogoški and others really make a decision to finish the protest, it is likely they would do it after the announcement of the election date.

Minister of Veteran Affairs Predrag Matić said he did not know about their plans. “I did not know they were thinking about it. But, it seems to me that they have been looking for a long time for an excuse to leave, and the elections could be a good opportunity. As far as I am concerned, I have endured these ten months, but still I would be happy if they were to leave. I have promised them I would not gloat if they withdraw and I will stick to my promise. But, let me repeat that there were never any reasons for the protest to begin with”, said Matić.

The minister is convinced that Glogoški and his colleagues have failed to articulate what is bothering them and which rights the government of Zoran Milanović supposedly denied them. “The veterans have never had a better status than under this government. During my term in office, I have not adopted any measures against veterans. Everything I said when they began the protest I can again repeat now. Nothing has changed. If I were one of the people who stayed in the tent during this hot summer, I would ask myself what was I doing there”, said Matić.

Unlike Klemm, who points out that the protesters are not politically engaged, the minister thinks the opposite. “One side has been politically using this part of the population for the last two years. That is perfectly clear. Some leaders of the protest have advanced politically and they are no longer in the tent, while others are still out there suffering”, concluded the minister.

In recent weeks, perhaps due to high temperatures, there were very few people in the tent. After the skirmishes at the St. Mark’s Square, the intensity of the protests generally subsided. Prime Minister Zoran Milanović began a dialogue with the veterans and agreed to set up committees to deal with veterans’ issues, but Glogoški then announced that he will break contacts with the government.

Since then, the only notable activity of protesters was linked with the celebration of the anniversary of the Operation Storm. One of the protest leaders spoke at a midday rally before President Grabar-Kitarović, while Glogoški made a speech in the evening before the music concert by Thompson. Both harshly criticized the government.


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