Resident of Podstrana Explains His Confrontation with PM Plenković Regarding the Fire (video)

Total Croatia News

On Tuesday, after PM Plenković finally decided he might drop by to check out the situation in Dalmatia, a local individual was there to give him a piece of his mind.

Robert Pilipović, a 35-year-old resident of Podstrana that was heavily damaged in the fire, didn’t hold back.

“How are you not ashamed to visit people who’ve seen their houses burn down? I barely managed to defend my own house”, Pilipović said directly to the PM, reported Index.

“When I saw him walking around Žrnovnica, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, how come the man isn’t ashamed? Such hypocrisy. People didn’t have any equipment to put out the fire, they fought it with buckets of water, the firemen did everything they could, but there wasn’t enough of them, and their equipment is ancient. I can’t understand how Plenković isn’t ashamed to lie like that. There was no organisation at all”, said Pilipović for Index.

The attention of the media quickly turned to the strong-minded individual who confronted the PM. 24 sata interviewed Pilipović on Wednesday, July 20. Here’s a video of the interview (in Croatian), followed by a short recap of the conversation:

The reporter met Pilipović and asked him what pushed him to confront the PM. Pilipović said he saw the fire first-hand, so when he saw Plenković and Krstičević in the street, he couldn’t hold back. “Local residents and Torcida members put in immense efforts to fight against the blaze and defend the local neighbourhoods; 20-year-old locals wearing sneakers and short sleeves didn’t think twice before walking into the fire, and yet, Plenković dared to give a speech about the system working properly”, said Pilipović.

Plenković flew from Zagreb to Split and was driven around the fire sites in an Audi, noted the reporter. Pilipović said that was the largest tragedy: the fire department in Žrnovnica has only three fire engines, one manufactured in 1976, one in 1984, and the third in 1990. Those three fire trucks were sent to Sitno Gornje to put out the fire, and in the meantime, Žrnovnica caught fire. “I’m not an expert”, said Pilipović, “but we were lucky the wind died down, otherwise it would’ve ended in catastrophe. I’m not calling out the firefighters, of course, but the governing bodies who keep claiming everything is working just fine.”

“My mother had 22 family members die in the Homeland war, 8 of my father’s family members died. I have the personal right to say whatever I want to that Krstičević person. People like him are our idols, people walking alive out of that horrible war, and 20 years after that war, Krstičević is standing alongside the people who’ve ben robbing Croatia for 20 years, who robbed the nation he defended in the war. I asked him what the hell he went to war for – I feel bad about it now, but I asked him anyway.”, he said. Pilipović then stated he told Krstičević he hopes he’ll stick to his decision about resigning and keep away from other politicians like Plenković.

He also claimed a lot of reporters called him to get an interview, but none of them could promise they’d take a statement and not censor it afterwards, like certain reproters did after he gave a statement in front of the fire department in Žrnovnica.
Pilipović also shared his thoughts on Torcida, saying he often hears President Grabar-Kitarović and other politicians attacking part of Torcida for being Orjuna members. “Let me tell you something, these people who you call Orjuna put out the fire in Split. I don’t know how you’re not ashamed”, he said.

The reporter also asked Pilipović about his accusation that the local residents didn’t hold the local authorities responsible. Pilipović said he understands that people in Split depend on their governing bodies, and their jobs depend on local politics, so he gets why people won’t speak out against the political leaders. However, he’s certain he’d just leave Split if he were a resident, because the politicans don’t deserve the confidence of their voters. He adressed the prefect of the Split-Dalmatia County, saying he should be ashamed for standing for the people who allowed for the whole county to burn down.

“People in Žrnovnica almost burned to death, and they still stay silent. People, someone has to say something. Our children could have burned to death because the fire brigades didn’t have enough equipment, yet Plenković is out giving speeches about them having everything they need. If the wind didn’t die down, half of the city would’ve burned down. People defended Žrnovnica on their own. Not because nobody came to help, but because the few fire engines we have were dispatched to other locations.”, he stated.

Pilipović finished by adressing the people in Croatia, saying we’re the ones who are filling the state budget and financing the country. “We are their bosses, we’re paying for them to work. Once we realise that we need to see things like we’re the bosses and not allow them to govern over us while the firemen are fighting fires in sneakers… I think I’ve said everything. People who are leading this country are hypocrites, all of them. I don’t know what to say. What happened here was a tragedy, and we were just plain lucky to get out of it alive.”


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