by Darko MARKUSIC
"We shall continue with protests until these authorities correct their mistakes. We demand that the Clemency Law be abolished and that the cooperation with the Hague Tribunal be reevaluated," announced Kvesic, and added that they also demand that the proposed laws about the minority rights and territory under special state care be withdrawn, because they do not differentiate between Serb criminals and Croat victims and defenders.
"With the protest rally 'A Cry from Ovcara' we want to protect the values of the Homeland War, for which we fought; we do not want to keep quiet while the Croatian victory against the Chetnik [nationalist Serb] idea of Greater Serbia is transformed into a Croatian defeat, and some are trying to convince us that the Homeland War was simply a civil war," said Kvesic.
He emphasized that Prime Minister Ivica Racan is advocating the return of all, even those who killed Croats, since they are his constituency. Kvesic added that these authorities have betrayed Croatian national interests and all that the Croatian defenders fought for.
Leaders of the Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) criticized the new authorities because of their tendency to forgive Chetniks, and they also complained about the bad treatment by the media, especially the Croatian TV.
Croats and the Croatian Army, said Kvesic, did not commit war crimes, but merely defended their people and their homeland. Many of the politicians currently in power did not support the independent of Croatia in 1991 and we have no guarantees that they have in the meantime accepted it, emphasized Kvesic, reminding that at the time Racan supported criminal Yugoslavia.
The leader of the Union of Associations of HOS warned the Prime Minister and Minister of Police Simo Lucin that Police pressures will not scare them. HOS members told the Government not to lecture them what Croatian national interests are, since the defenders know that better than politicians in power.
Anto Dapic, the president of HSP, emphasized that Chetniks are still Chetniks and he criticized the Croatian government for its servile attitude with respect to the international community. Dapic is against the establishment of the climate of civil war and division into two camps, the war-camp and the camp that did not suffer in the war. "For us, all of Croatia was in war," said Dapic.
About thousand people from different parts of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina participated in the protest rally. Among the speakers were representatives of the associations related to the war, for example Kaja Perekovic, the president of the Association of Political Prisoners of Croatia. Father Vjekoslav Lasic [pro-Ustashe Franciscan priest, famous for his masses for the WWII Ustashe leader Ante Pavelic] attended the rally.
Leaders of HSP placed wreaths on the graves of slain defenders and civilians in Ovcara, Borovo Selo and the new cemetery in Vukovar.
The rally had strong security, and security on the streets of Vukovar was provided by several hundreds of policemen.
The Prime Minister believes that democratic Croatia is not assisted by rallies that try to take us back to conflict and historical discussions. Racan believes that exactly the citizens of Vukovar will make their own judgment what sort of guests the Government and HSP are, and whether the Government or HSP are taking them to the past or offering cooperation. "Croatia is turned towards the future and that cannot be stopped any more. Regardless of whether the protesters like that or not," said Racan.