Even though veterans’ problems have not been solved, the protest is reportedly ending today.
After 555 days, war veterans protest in front of the Veterans Affairs Ministry building will reportedly end today. The news has been confirmed by unofficial sources, and the public announcement should be made later today at a press conference, reports Večernji List on April 26, 2016.
Three leaders of the protest – Đuro Glogoški, Josip Klemm and Dražimir Jukić – did not want to comment on the news prior to the press conference, since they still had to hold a meeting with representatives of war veterans’ associations. However, according to reports, the end of the protest has been agreed with the main war veterans’ organizations at the national level, the decision has been made, and the removal of the tent is now only a technical issue. “It will be taken away in the next few days, and then it will perhaps be kept for symbolic reasons, maybe in Vukovar”, said veterans’ representatives.
Given that the previous government repeatedly accused protest leaders of cooperation with the rightwing parties, many were surprised that the tent remained for over three months after the arrival of HDZ and the Patriotic Coalition to power. It seems that the crucial factor in veterans’ decision was a meeting which was held a week ago on the initiative of Veterans Affairs Minister Tomo Medved, and which was also attended by First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko and representatives of eight ministries. That reportedly assured leaders of the protests that there would be a serious effort to solve the veterans’ problems.
The protesters have great confidence in the new minister who opened a dialogue with their associations. Also, the protest in many ways has lost its true purpose over time, especially since some of the veterans who actively supported the protest became high-ranking officials of the Veterans Affairs Ministry, In addition, with their appointment, one of the main demands of the protesters has been met – the dismissal of SDP’s Veterans Affairs Minister Fred Matić and his associates.
However, protesters emphasize that the removal of the tent does not mean they would stop advocating for veterans’ rights. “We will be an interested party and regularly inform the public about everything that has been done. We will vigilantly follow the work of the Ministry. Many veterans will be included in working groups that will draft a comprehensive law on the veterans’ rights. And there is also one other important question: the issue of Croatian war veterans from Bosnia and Herzegovina who are being threatened with possible new indictments”, said some of the participants of perhaps the longest protest in Croatian history, which might finally end today.