Current Affairs

Hate crime charge over petrol bombs at Pride

Tony Grew July 16, 2007
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One man has been charged with a hate crime after the attacks on a Pride march in Zagreb earlier this month.

The 25-year-old, identified only as Josip S, is the first person accused of a hate crime in Croatia since they became an offence under the country’s Penal Code in 2006.

Police spotted him at the Pride event on 7th July with petrol bombs but he fled the scene.

He was later arrested and is charged with attempting to endanger life.

Prosecutors says he prepared his petrol bombs at home and intended to throw them at gay marchers.

He has been remanded in custody.

Ten people were injured when violence broke out at the gay Pride march in Zagreb.

A gang of around 20 young men taunted and abused the Pride participants. Police arrested eight people.

Despite the Croatian government granting limited partnership rights for gay and lesbian couples, homophobia remains rife in the country, which is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.

Homosexuality was legalised in Croatia in 1977, and the age of consent was equalised in 1998.

300 people took to the streets of the capital to protest against discrimination and the physical and verbal abuse Croatian LGBT people suffer. 500 police where deployed to protect them.

Croatia is not a member of the EU, but has applied to join and is regarded as likely to be admitted in 2009 or 2010.

However, the homophobic attitude that pervades Croatian society is an issue for some EU officials.

Zagreb Pride organisers told they have continuted to receive death threats.

“Since Pride two more people have been attacked and organisers continuously receive death threats on SMS and email,” Marko Jurcic for Zagreb Pride 2007 said.

“One person so far has been charged for endangering lives of many people and hate crime based on sexual orientation – no other person was charged for other attacks.

“Zagreb Pride Organising Committee and LGBTIQ Coordination of Croatia have requested, among other things, from the President of Croatia and the Government to condemn attacks and name them hate crimes and homophobic attacks. So, far, none of them has done so.”

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