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Croatia: The Anti-Sanader Facebook Group Controversy

The people of Croatia are upset by their current government to produce realistic economic plans and have taken to the streets as well as the internet. The majority of the frustration is directed at Prime Minister Ivo Sanader which spawned the creation of a Facebook Group: “I bet you'll find 5000 Facebook users who do not like Sanader!”. Naturally, the group has well over 15,000 members as of this writing.

Facebook Group
A screenshot of the Facebook group.

The creator of the group, Niksa Klečak recently got in to trouble as relayed by Svetlana Gladkova on Profy:

…the main problem with it was that the guy was not just some regular citizen unhappy with his Prime minister and the financial ideas of the government – he is actually the president of one of the local branches of the youth of SDP (social democratic party) which is in opposition to the government in Croatia…But the result of this situation is simply outrageous as yesterday the guy was arrested by the police that claimed he kept some Nazi symbols and propaganda at home. When they could not find any evidence, they claimed he had links to child porn somewhere and that could be another reason for the arrest. Eventually Niksa Klecak was let go by the police for lack of evidence but the social networks and the local media outlets are all abuzz about these actions of the police.

A very prominent voice to speak out on the absurdity of this arrest was Vesna Škare Ožbolt who was a former member of Sanader's cabinet. She wrote on her blog, Funky Politika (HRV):

In France you may sell voodoo dolls with Sarkozy.
In Croatia, virtual gatherings on Facebook are prohibited.
I can not imagine what would happen to those who would be in the middle of Zagreb selling voodoo dolls with a figure of he whose name we may not speak.
…After the incident on Facebook it has sent all a message. The message is that those who fight for the freedom of words in this country must be stronger.

On Reci.hr (Words), T-Zombix writes (HRV):

Now it is becoming clear that the main tasks of our police are: the clearance of the Mafia, who are the Mafia, and where are the Mafia. So, the Mafia is on the Internet and very active on Facebook where they are inflicting incalculable harm to this country.

Prime Minister Sanader has officially been taking the high road, as the BBC reported that he claims this was not his doing, “…no-one should be detained or arrested in Croatia for expressing different views.” Of course this is contrary to what Klečak believes as written by Marko Biočina on Tyche (HRV):

Klečak, who is not affiliated with the organization of protest initiative 5th December, in his first statements, he argued that his arrest was ordered directly from Zagreb.

The “protest initiative” is part of a movement over the past few days, that has led a great many to called for action as written on Opurba (HRV):

It is smart to choose the virtual world in which we all so brave, I do not know fear, we have our opinions and we want the Internet to a new revolution.
One of these should now leave the virtual world and overflow into the streets of major Croatian cities.

The calls were answered as Marko Biočina wrote (HRV):

…if everything is according to plan, [protests] will be held on the 5th of December at the city's central squares, eight Croatian cities, Zagreb, Split, Osijek, Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Pula and Požega.

Croatian newspaper, Jutarnji (HRV) reports that the largest crowd was of 2,000 in Zagreb. It will be interesting to see the end result of these actions as Croatia is standing at a delicate point in its modern history with EU membership just within reach. Vesna Škare Ožbolt is very much aware of this as she closes (HRV) her post by stating:

Thus the continuation of repression and convulsions for the armchair power struggle could stay with us and eventually lead to a mass-produced voodoo doll, of course … only when join the EU, which is near is not it?

1 comment

  • The problem in that country is unreformed police when national police units are responsible for investigating allegations of minor crimes such as ownership of Nazi fetish or porn.

    Should police be local – with police management elected in local elecitons -, and should national investigative units be responsible only for major crimes, there wouln’t be any such controvercy where, perhaps, only God knows who’s right.

    -Andy, http://www.myarabicstories.com/

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