News / Europe

Police Clash With Anti-EU Protesters in Croatia

Croatian police push back an anti-EU protester attempting to remove an EU flag from the central square in Zagreb Saturday, January 21, 2012.
Croatian police push back an anti-EU protester attempting to remove an EU flag from the central square in Zagreb Saturday, January 21, 2012.

Police in Croatia's capital clashed with nationalist protesters Saturday, on the eve of a crucial vote on the country's membership in the European Union.

About 1,000 protesters, many of them independence war veterans, gathered in Zagreb's central square, carrying banners saying "No to EU'' or "I love Croatia,'' and chanting anti-EU slogans. Using loudspeakers, activists demanded postponement of the vote, arguing that political leaders had failed to explain to citizens all that the EU entry entails.

Police arrested several protesters who tried to take down an EU flag from a pole, while others chanted "Treason! Treason!"  News reports say a few people were injured during the clashes.

Croatian anti-EU protesters rally in the central square of Zagreb Saturday, January 21, 2012.
Croatian anti-EU protesters rally in the central square of Zagreb Saturday, January 21, 2012.

On Sunday, Croatian voters will say "yes" or "no" to the question: "Do you support the membership of the Republic of Croatia in the European Union?'' Between 50 and 60 percent of the voters are expected to vote yes.

Croatia has gone through an arduous six-year negotiating process with the EU before signing an accession treaty last year. It is set to join the 27-nation bloc in July 2013.

But in recent years, a growing number of Croatian citizens have grown disillusioned with the union and many believe there is nothing to be gained by joining, while they say some hard-earned independence may be lost.

Opponents of the accession singled out Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic as the main target of their criticism. Pusic has been one of Croatia's main negotiators in the entry talks and has said that postponing the referendum could have disastrous consequences for the country's economy.

Croatia is faced with serious economic problems, including unemployment at around 17 percent and a budget gap, projected at more than 6 percent of its gross domestic product.

In addition to the referendum, the accession treaty has to be ratified by all 27 member states before Croatia can enter the bloc.

Of the six former Yugoslav republics, only Slovenia is an EU member, having entered the grouping in 2004.  

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid