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Cablegate: Qantiwar Protests Staged in Zagreb and Other

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000367

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV HR IZ
SUBJECT: QANTIWAR PROTESTS STAGED IN ZAGREB AND OTHER
CROATIAN CITIES

1. SUMMARY: A FEW THOUSAND NGO ACTIVISTS AND THEIR
SUPPORTERS GATHERED ON FEBRUARY 15 IN ZAGREB AND OTHER
CROATIAN CITIES TO PROTEST AGAINST A WAR IN IRAQ. THE
POLICE ESTIMATED THAT THE CENTRAL RALLY IN DOWNTOWN ZAGREB
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00367 210153Z
GATHERED UP TO 2,000 PROTESTERS. INTELLECTUALS AND ARTISTS
WHO ADDRESSED THE RALLY CALLED FOR UNIVERSAL DISARMAMENT
AND DEMANDED THAT THE GOC WITHDRAW ANY SUPPORT FOR THE USG
POLICY ON IRAQ. EXCEPT FOR A U.S. FLAG BURNING IN FRONT OF
THE U.S. EMBASSY, NO INCIDENTS WERE REPORTED. THE CROATIAN
AUTHORITIES PROVIDED EXCELLENT POLICE PROTECTION FOR THE
CHANCERY. END SUMMARY

ENOUGH OF WARS!
---------------

2. AS THEY HAD ANNOUNCED, SOME THIRTY CROATIAN NGO'S
STAGED ON FEBRUARY 15 ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATIONS IN DOWNTOWN
ZAGREB UNDER THE SLOGAN "ENOUGH OF WARS!" SMALL PROTEST
RALLIES -- RANGING FROM A FEW DOZEN TO A FEW HUNDRED
PARTICIPANTS -- WERE ALSO HELD IN OTHER CROATIAN CITIES AND
TOWNS INCLUDING SPLIT, OSIJEK, PULA, ZADAR, DUBROVNIK,
VUKOVAR AND KNIN. WHILE THE FOCUS WAS ON U.S. IRAQ POLICY,
PETITIONS WERE SIGNED IN ZAGREB AND PULA DEMANDING THAT
CROATIA NOT JOIN NATO.

3. ALTHOUGH ALL LOCAL MEDIA REPORTED THAT AN ESTIMATED
10,000 PROTESTERS GATHERED IN ZAGREB, THE POLICE TOLD US
THAT THE NUMBER WAS BETWEEN 1,500 AND 2,000 PEOPLE. THE
RALLY STARTED AT THE MAIN SQUARE IN DOWNTOWN ZAGREB WHERE
HALF A DOZEN INTELLECTUALS AND ARTISTS ADDRESSED THE CROWD.
THE MOST PROMINENT SPEAKER WAS FORMER SCIENCE AND ARTS
ACADEMY PRESIDENT IVAN SUPEK WHO CALLED FOR MOTHERHOOD AND
APPLE PIE VIRTUES SUCH AS UNIVERSAL DISARMAMENT AND A WORLD
COMMUNITY BASED ON SOLIDARITY AND PEACE. OTHERS CALLED ON
THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT TO DO A U-TURN AND DISASSOCIATE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00367 210153Z
ITSELF FROM THE VILNIUS GROUP DECLARATION.

4. DEMONSTRATORS CARRIED BANNERS WITH FAMILIAR SLOGANS:
"IRAQ IS NOT ONLY SADDAM, U.S. IS NOT ONLY BUSH"..."FOOD,
NOT ARMS"..."TERROR IS NOT AN ANSWER TO TERROR"..."NO BLOOD
FOR OIL"..."POLITICIANS TO THE TRENCHES"..."NOT IN OUR
NAME." THE RALLIES IN ZAGREB AND OTHER CITIES WERE
ATTENDED BY A NUMBER OF POLITICAL FIGURES INCLUDING FORMER
MINISTER OF DEFENSE JOZO RADOS (AND CURRENT MEMBER OF THE
COALITION), ITALIAN MINORITY REPRESENTATIVE FURIO RADIN,
SDP'S MP PAVLE KALINIC, AND GOVERNOR OF ISTRIA IVAN
JAKOVCIC (IDS).

5. THE ONLY INCIDENT DURING THE RALLY WE SAW IN FRONT OF
THE EMBASSY -- WHICH WAS GUARDED BY SOME 150 POLICE
OFFICERS -- WAS THE BURNING OF A U.S. FLAG "ADORNED" WITH
SWASTIKAS BY A GROUP OF ABOUT TWENTY INDIVIDUALS WHO
IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES AS "ANARCHISTS OF THE ANTI-FASCIST
ACTION," A GROUP WHOSE NAME SOUNDS EQUALLY ABSURD IN THE
ORIGINAL CROATIAN. AFTER LESS THAN AN HOUR OF
DEMONSTRATIONS IN FRONT OF THE EMBASSY, PROTESTERS RETURNED
TO THE MAIN SQUARE TO SIGN PETITIONS AND DANCE TO MUSIC.

6. BELGRADE MINIMIZE CONSIDERED.

ROSSIN

UNCLASSIFIED

>

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