ZAGREB, September 5, 2020 — Several thousands of anti-COVID-19 protesters gathered in Zagreb on Saturday for a “Festival of Freedom” to challenge safety measures imposed by the Croatia National Civil Protection Headquarters. The “Rights and Freedoms” initiative organized the assembly.
Organizers brought in a tourist bus and music. People showed up with signs saying: “COVID is a lie, we are not COVIDiots”, “Parents and children are inseparable”, and “Better a grave than a slave”. In spite of the dense crowd on Zagreb’s main square, almost none of the protesters wore masks.
Tony Cetinski, who was DJ at the event, played music from a tourist bus on the way to the square and received standing ovations. Zlatko Hasanbegović and Velimir Bujanec showed up. Members of the Homeland Movement and several Most MPs also came to show support.
“Some news sites wrote that we were shouting in front of nursing homes. However, we just came to cheer up the elderly. We know which portals we will not be following anymore,” Cetinski instructed the Zagreb crowd.
According to Slobodna Dalmacija, MP Karolina Vidović Krišto, who resisted wearing a mask in parliament, also spoke at the protest.
MP Vidović Krišto: COVID-19 Danger is Comparable to Cold or Flu
“This is the result of National Civil Protection imposing measures which deny us our human freedoms and rights. Data in Croatia and the world show that the mortality rate in previous years is similar to the mortality rate in 2020,” Vidović Krišto explained.
“Yesterday, Dr. Srećko Sladoljev acknowledged that the virus is spreading through the population. However, people are not developing severe symptoms. Therefore, we cannot talk about a disease caused by COVID-19 when the danger is comparable to a cold or the flu.”
“We must now face the question of whether we will deny human rights, freedom of movement, expression, and media. Many MPs are demanding the removal of Krunoslav Capak and the abolition of the Civil Protection Headquarters.”
“I am looking for something concrete which can be done immediately. Let experts with different views speak publicly and equally. For example, let famous scientists such as Srećko Sladoljev, Valerij Vrček or Dr. Lidija Gajski speak. Give them media space equal to Krunoslav Capak, Vili Beroš and Alemka Markotić,” proclaimed Vidović Krišto at the Zagreb demonstration.
MP Miletić: Headquarters Deliberately Spreading Panic
Most MP Marin Miletić is worried that the Headquarters is deliberately spreading panic.
“No one thinks about the increased number of depressed people we will have in the long run. Nor do they consider the resources required for their treatment. They also ignore the financial burden for our entire society due to the “lockdown”. I don’t understand the decision of the Headquarters to close the gyms. Then they open them after a couple of days. That’s senseless,” he claimed.
The Homeland Movement confirms that, “more citizens are realizing that the Headquarters is inconsistent and unreliable”.
“An example is the completely contradictory statements about the usefulness of wearing masks. HDZ cadres Capak and Grba Buljević said before the election that healthy people do not need to wear masks.”
“Now children, who normally do not get sick, must wear masks. Regarding the economy, the criteria for restricting operations of businesses change from today to tomorrow. An example is the decision to close gyms. Who will compensate these entrepreneurs for their losses?” they asked the Zagreb crowd.
Anita Šupe: We Have Right to Facts Which They are Denying Us
Anita Šupe proclaimed that the measures imposed by the National Civil Protection do not have any health basis. They also restrict people’s freedom of movement and their right to timely medical care, which endangers people’s health and lives.
“Let’s forget what separates us and remember what unites us. We have the right to freedom of choice, freedom of opinion and freedom of speech. We also have a right to the facts which they are denying us,” Šupe added.
At one point, an ambulance appeared on the Zagreb square. Cetinski asked people to calm down and let the vehicle pass.
“We are censored and not allowed to think. We cannot have contact with our loved ones. Nor can we attend funerals or express our condolences. A padlock has been placed on all levels of our existence and this is the real lockdown. What are the consequences of that padlock, for us and ours?” wondered Velimir Ponoš, columnist for the Logično news site.
“The illusion is that there is an epidemic in Croatia. On March 11, they made a decision to declare this an epidemic. But it does not have what it must have – an article saying that the decision will be published in the Official Gazette. If there is no such thing in the Official Gazette, then there is no epidemic,” concluded Ponoš.
Velimir Ponoš: Masks for COVID-19 Like Helmets for Zagreb Earthquakes
“If healthy people must wear masks as a precaution, then why don’t citizens wear helmets for a possible earthquake. Why don’t we put innocent people in prison as a precaution, so that we can prevent crime,” Ponoš theorized.
“They cannot put a mask on my face by force. According to the law they cannot and according to the Constitution they cannot. I am not a guinea pig,” Ponoš declared. Then, the excited Zagreb crowd chanted “they cannot” in response.
“Some believe in decisions, others do not, for some COVID-19 is terrible, for others it is not. We have differences of opinion. But we are not fighting because of those differences and we will not fight now,” explained Ponoš.
Immunologist Srećko Sladoljev also gave a speech at the gathering.
“This day is even bigger than when the presidential elections took place,” he said excitedly.
“I always tell the truth and that’s why they censor me. A few moments ago something happened. An ambulance arrived, and now I’ll tell you a little something about this.”
Immunologist Sladoljev: Ambulance on Zagreb Square Demonstration of Force
“They asked Mother Teresa why she did not attend a protest against the war. She said that she would have attended if they had organized a festival of peace first. That is why this is a festival, and not a protest, because the energy is completely different,” Sladoljev explained.
“This ambulance is parked there with its turn signals and trumpets. It is a demonstration of force from those who oppose our freedom,” continued Sladoljev.
Organizers chartered buses to the “Festival” to Zagreb from several Croatian cities including Dubrovnik, Split, Šibenik, Zadar, Rijeka and Pula.
The organizers claim that ever since COVID-19 appeared, authorities have imposed precedent-setting measures. These measures restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. Their aim is to advocate for the preservation of a democratic society. Decision-making based on panic and propaganda must not be tolerated.
They want to emphasize that they insist on the preservation of human rights, freedoms, knowledge, solidarity and mutual respect. They also believe that health is a mental, physical, and emotional phenomenon; not just a COVID-19 phenomenon.
Organizers Cheer Zagreb Elderly in Homes with Music and Encouragement
This morning, they organized events accompanied with music in front of several homes for the elderly and infirm. Then, they asked residents to open their windows so they could hear their message. They claim they wanted to cheer up the residents with music and messages of encouragement.
Assistant Interior Minister Damir Trut said that protest organizers had promised to abide by the epidemiological measures prescribed by the Croatian Institute of Public Health. Members of the Civil Protection Inspectorate were present at the demonstration and could issue warnings for non-compliance. Nevertheless, few attendees wore masks or maintained social distancing.
Croatia Medical Association: COVID-19 Patients Rising, Hospitals Reaching Capacity
On Friday, the Croatian Medical Law Association (HUZMP) expressed their opposition to the “Festival of Freedom”. They believe this is a protest against the health of an individual and society as a whole. While organizers have assumed the slogan of freedom, it is actually a cloak for deception and demagoguery.
“The world is facing an ever-increasing number of patients and deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic. Croatian hospitals are admitting new patients every day and capacities are reaching their limit. Therefore, HUZMP is alarmed by the announcement of the so-called “Festival of Freedom”, they said in a statement on Friday.
They also wondered who will cultivate freedom of speech if there is no universal security and health care. If they belittle medical science, prevention and treatment — who will be able to enjoy that freedom?
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