A Croatian Misery: War Veterans Denied Request To Address The Parliament

Front: Djuro Glogoski, invalid war veteran one of the leaders of Croatian War Veterans Protest Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr news 29 January 2015

Front: Djuro Glogoski, invalid war veteran
one of the leaders of
Croatian War Veterans Protest
Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr news 29 January 2015


It’s been over three months of continued protest by Croatian war veterans in which they are camped out in front of the War Veterans Ministry building in Savska street, Zagreb, seeking among other things better treatment for war veterans, especially for the disabled veterans, a legislative protection of veterans’ rights, a move to remove veterans’ rights from the country’s “social welfare” laws and returning the same into laws and regulations that deal exclusively with veterans’ rights, a cessation of current government’s attempts to equate the victim with the aggressor, as well as resignation of War Veterans Minister Predrag Matic and two of his close advisors.

These men and women who protest in the Savska street tent were the warriors who stood up for freedom when, after the 1991 plebiscite 94% of Croatian voted elected to secede from communist Yugoslavia, many rebel Croatian Serbs and Serbia waged brutal was of aggression on Croatia’s sovereign territory.

These protesting men and women are among those who make up the very heart of independent Croatia today. And that is why they are gaining widespread support of Croatian people as well as veterans’ associations and many politicians.

On Thursday 29 January 2015 representatives of protesting war-invalids veterans walked out of parliament shouting “Shame on you” after the Speaker Josip Leko, citing Standing Orders, refused to allow them to address the parliament. Parliament was to have discussed reports on the implementation of the law dealing with veterans’ rights, the rights of their families and the operations of the Fund for veterans and their families. Josip Dakic, HDZ member of parliament asked that the veterans be given ten minutes to address the floor but this was denied.

The war veterans wanted to have a say before the members of parliament on matters that affect their lives and welfare directly, and which matters are closely associated with the parliament’s agenda of the day! The Speaker refused to allow them to speak!

How awful and disgraceful!

The opposition parties, HDZ and HDSSB, requested a break after Leko turned down their request that veterans’ representative Djuro Glogoski address MPs before the reports were submitted.
Speaking after the break, Ivan Suker of the HDZ said Glogoski should have been allowed to take the floor “so that you can see that they are not protesting for material rights, greater rights, but for dignity and respect for those who defended their country with bare hands.”
Suker accused the ruling coalition of lack of sensitivity. He said veterans “put parts of their bodies into the foundations of the Croatian state and are asking that what they did doesn’t get forgotten.”
Speaker Josip Leko insisted, in cold blood: “I’m in charge of protecting procedure and this is a guarantee that parliament acts on democratic foundations, and some Standing Orders provisions concern the Constitution. Who can speak in parliament is part of the democratic procedure. I don’t intend to bargain with love for veterans and the Homeland War by arbitrarily running the session.”
A standard should be established beforehand, Leko said. “Otherwise we will turn into a debate club and I want no part in that,” he said.

The déjà vu here from the communist Yugoslavia times is astounding! Indeed, shame on Leko and shame on the Croatian parliament!

The Croatian parliament’s rules of procedure, in Article 224, for example, says that the Speaker suggests the agenda for the sitting/meeting, in writing… that the Speaker can during the parliamentary sitting change the Agenda in a way whereby he/she will take out certain items or add new items to the Agenda if at least 1/3 of representative request the change in writing…And since the Speaker Leko waved the connection of Standing Orders with the Constitution it’s shameful and alarming that he did not, after refusing the war veterans to speak to the parliament on Thursday (because of allegedly not fitting into the Agenda or Standing Orders), mention the constitutional provision for the parliament to call an emergency session on this issue which has been crippling Croatia for months!

Also, the opposition parties HDZ, HDSSB … should “put their money where their mouth is” and instead of just commenting on and criticising the move by the Speaker to deny the war veterans’ speaking to the parliament, start and finish the formal process of seeking an emergency session of parliament which would give the war veterans the floor for the day and in relation to the law that directly affects their welfare.

Speaking to the press afterwards, Glogoski voiced his bitterness, saying everyone could be discussed in parliament except war veterans. He rejected the Standing Orders interpretation of who was allowed to take the floor and said Leko disappointed him. “Anyone can address parliament if the speaker and the parliamentary groups agree on it,” he said. “This incident convinces that, after all, the Croatian parliament if not a home of all Croats and that only certain people can speak in it, those elected by the people but not those who are most deserving for the creation of the Croatian homeland,” Glogoski continued.

One cannot but shudder from horror at what ensued after the above incident in the Croatian parliament: word spread that the police were planning to swoop down on the war veterans tents on Savska street in Zagreb and forcefully bring the protest there to an end. While the war veterans minister Predrag Matic denied any knowledge of this, or that it had substance, he stated: “The only thing I can confirm, and I hope you’ll understand that I am ironic, is that we have 100 or 200 special police force members, armed to their teeth, staying in the cellar of the ministry building and all are of Serbian nationality…”. This statement is no irony; it’s a direct attack on and intimidation of war veterans who defended Croatia against Serb aggression and an attempt to continue vilifying the justness of Croatian War of Independence. It’s a direct vilification of Croatian war veterans for not in one single moment during the 106 day protest have any of them said anything against Serb nationals; one does not expect much better from a minister who obviously draws his strength from the former communist regime but one does expect the people in a democracy to do their best and hardest to rid Croatia of such political garbage.
The man, Predrag Matic, has no place being a minister for veterans’ affairs and this latest statement of his adds to the justification of the protesting veterans’ plight. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Ina,
    i’m glad you continue to post these articles, they are needed and worthy.

    Best Wishes


  2. annathrax says:

    Disgusting treatment of the people. So much for freedom huh?

    • Yes, annathrax. I hope the vets get their day in parliament, after all their plight affects many and they are the part of the population that must always be treated with respect and honour. Croatia has much to learn or, perhaps, it’s as simple as ridding itself of those politicians who have no sense for the nation’s pulse.

  3. When veterans are unable to voice their opinions – it should make everyone very concerned.

    • Indeed, gpcox, and what’s all the more concerning is that the Speaker also said that if he allows the veterans reps to speak then a precedent would be set and any lobby group could ask the same and Parliament would become a place for debates and discussion by anyone! Hence, placing the war veterans into an insignificant group. Just awful. I recognise that protocols do exist but every protocol would also provide ways for nationally important issues of war veterans to be afforded the dignity of addressing the parliament

  4. Michael Silovic says:

    This is why we have to work hard to form militias in the country and better yet arm them with modern weapons. When goverment disrespects its people you know its time they have to go. If any harm comes to our veterans through goverment force then we will need to inform the goverment they have become our enemy and they and their associates will become targets just as they have targets us. No goverment should ever have power over people that they can so easily dismiss people through intimidation and violence. It always seems it is goverment who uses violence first then complain about the people who create havoc afterwards.

  5. The veterans need to stay put but also there should be demonstrations from the local populace. No different than what happened in Paris after Charlie and in the US after Ferguson. These need to be supported with 100s of thousands of people to rid Matić, Pusić and others…

  6. The minster really said that…unbelievable…how offensive and hostile. How does this government still have any legitimacy? Why has he not been fired? If what he says is true, does this mean that Serbia has taken over defense of the Croatian government…has our sovereignty been violated; has there been a coup? Croatia indeed needs a second revolution.I am disgusted.

  7. From Facebook: does Croatia allow Lobby groups? at least in the US, we have the VFW & American Legion to represent Veterans in front of Congress.

    • There are lobby groups John K. there but as Speaker Leko also said on the occasion “if we let veterans speak then we will set precedence and all other groups will want it…” just shameful as if veterans are anybody!

  8. These are our heroes. These are the bravest of the brave. These are our gatekeepers who protected and defended. These are our patriots, our nationalists – in the purest and most honest definition of that term. They, as those who fought before them, were not driven by ideology, they were driven by love of their country. They, as those before them, fought for an independent Croatia – not a Yugoslavia. They were not Partisan guerillas who fought against their own people – indeed who slaughtered their own people in the hundreds of thousands in the name of a communist ideology and then created and perpetuated some “antifascist” mythology to justify their inhumane crimes. These soldiers, branitelji, fought bravely, against those factions who did not want Croatia to exist. Period. And against heavy odds, and at a heavy cost, they succeeded. Croatia does exist only due to their determination, courageousness and most importantly due to their love of country and their vision of what Croatia could be.

    1995 the war ended. Two decades have passed and we are once again at the point in time where our branitelji are fighting for survival -this time peaceably – for recognition of what they fought for and for basic respect. This time their opponents are those ministers and elected officials of the Croatian govt. who are chipping away at their honorable service by downgrading their benefits and denying them legislative protection as a corpus. Our branitelji are once again our gatekeepers. They are calling our attention to the plight of our disabled veterans and by extension to the plight of all marginalized Croatian citizens as a whole. They are standing firmly to defend the Homeland War from those who would call it a civil war, from those who would politically gain by equating aggressor with victim, from those that would belittle and make ineffectual their service to country. Their slogan/banner “1991 protiv Jugoslavije, 2014/15 protiv Jugoslavljena” speaks volumes for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Deja vu indeed – and it should not be a surprise to anyone. The quote:” Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is as timely and relevant to us today as ever. So many of our present day problems are rooted and originate from our not so distant past and until these are addressed there can be no unified cohesive force from which to build a firm foundational future.
    Lustration, lustration, lustration!

  9. Great post as usual really good to see informative and well researched posts – perfect for Ace News Room here: http://acenewsroom.net/2015/02/02/a-croatian-misery-war-veterans-denied-request-to-address-the-parliament/

  10. Imagine a minister in any civilized western nation using Matic’s words: “we have 100 or 200 special police force members, armed to their teeth, staying in the cellar of the ministry building and all are of Serbian nationality…”
    Talk about inciting violence and hatred.
    The veterans promptly stated their protests had nothing to do with the Serbs. Their complaints had to do with the lack of dignity with which this communist regime deals with them.
    Why are we surprised at the government’s response?
    These are the descendants of those partisans and chetniks who slaughtered, pillaged, and lied during and after WW2 until 1989.
    They hate anything Croatian and Catholic.
    They haven’t a clue what a liberal democracy looks like.
    Sadly there are too many members of the electorate that are like them and voted them into office.
    In the words of Blessed, soon to be Saint Aloysius Stepinac:
    “The power of Satan, that’s the power of Communism. To destroy man’s honour, humiliate the human soul. It is the work of Satan.”

  11. …Croatia needs more people to populate it…especially from the Diaspora and, in the next election, get rid of those idiotic chetnik party run by Zoran Milanovic!

  12. Nearly every tourist who comes to Washington, D.C., remembers the moment they first laid eyes on the White House. And many of them also remember looking directly across the street and spotting the little white tent surrounded by anti-nuclear signs.
    Whether it be Israel, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf war, nuclear war, or chemcical war, the catch-all nature of the peace tent means that Ms Picciotto has had issues to protest for decades.
    DC Parks regulations do not require permits for vigils so long as they are constantly manned.
    The rules for D.C. Parks mandate that 24-hour vigils do not need to have any permits so long as someone stays with the vigil at all times.

    • Well added, Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources – Croatia is sadly still far from such governmental respect of democratic practices. One day, one day – sooner rather than later, until then the vetrans’ persistence is gold


  1. […] 2015 about the government Djuro Glogoski, one of the leaders of disabled war veterans who have been protesting in Zagreb for war veteran rights in a protest camp set up over six months ago. The protesting war veterans organised Saturday 2 May a “Unity” rally in Zagreb which saw more […]

  2. […] For over 200 days now the war veterans have held continuous protests against the government, seeking the removal of Predrag Matic, the minister for veterans affairs and his two assistants, protesting against the removal of some veterans’ entitlements/rights and seeking government protection of the same. […]

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