ZAGREB, November 30, 2020 – Dozens of restaurant and cafe owners whose businesses had to close last weekend due to new epidemiological restrictions expressed their dissatisfaction on Monday by staging a peaceful protest rally and lighting lanterns outside the Ministry of Finance.
The protest rally started before noon at Zagreb’s main Trg Bana Jelacica square and ended at about 1 p.m., and the protesters estimate that there were several dozens of them.
From the main square, the protesters walked to Katanciceva Street, where the Finance Ministry’s building is located, and they lit lanterns in front of the building.
The rally was not organised by any association, the protesters said, adding that it was a spontaneous gathering to protest against closing hospitality and other establishments, such as gyms, and to protest because tighter restrictions were introduced last weekend and operating was made difficult, which puts the survival of businesses, employees and owners themselves at risk.
Drazen Orescanin, representative of the Voice of Entrepreneurs association, said that the gathering was spontaneous and that they were waiting for the results of the meeting between hospitality stakeholders and entrepreneurs with ministers at the Ministry of Labour and Pension System, but what the government was offering was not in line with their requests, according to what he had heard.
“We will keep asking for the compensation to be fair and in accordance with other EU countries, so that everyone who had a significant drop in business is eligible. We also continue our fight for the survival of the economy, for which it is necessary to reduce the VAT rate and for government to make substantial reforms,” Orescanin said.
In addition to owners of restaurants and cafe bars, owners of gyms, fitness clubs and others whose businesses cannot operate now also took part in the protest rally, warning that they can no longer survive in the new circumstances.