ZAGREB, October 11, 2020 (Hina) — The Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Zagreb has recently become a popular place for outdoor gatherings. People are gathering there every weekend, especially after midnight, when many bars close due to COVID-19 safety measures.
Mass outdoor parties are taking place on Republic of Croatia Square, where the HNK building is located, since May. That is when epidemiological safety measures were relaxed. About 500 people gathered there last weekend as well.
Even after midnight when, according to epidemiological safety measures, all social life and entertainment in the city must stop, young people gather in groups, drink alcohol and listen to different genres of music.
Antonio, who is nineteen was sitting next to one of several outdoor speakers. When asked why he was there, he told Hina that he currently has nowhere else to go.
Croatian National Theatre and Social Gatherings
Sociologist Dino Vukušić from the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences commented on the diversity of young people gathering in front of the HNK building.
According to Vukušić, the HNK is not a new place to gather. However, this particular HNK spot emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. He thinks it is interesting that these spontaneous gatherings are still happening.
There are many different people there now — some belong to the same subcultures which have gathered outside the HNK before. There are also those who will, once night clubs reopen, go to night clubs, Vukušić explained. He added that they are a very heterogeneous group of people.
The hedonism typical of young people motivates the music and style of the HNK gatherings. They also reflect a call for spending free time in a hedonistic way at a time like this, he added.
Local Residents, Neighbors Calling for Protection
The noise, mess and urinating on green areas, have bothered the residents living on the Republic of Croatia Square. Although only about ten of them have spoken up, they are calling for law enforcement.
One of the residents, Melita Kovačević, often cannot fall asleep because of the noise. During the past few months, she and her neighbors are reporting everything to the police, she told Hina.
Zagreb police told Hina that from May 1 to September 30, they have intervened about 50 times. This was in response to reports of possible disturbances of the peace. However, they have filed misdemeanor charges against only six people.
The Čistoca city sanitation company told Hina that their employees have to clean the HNK location much more frequently. They have also asked people who are gathering there to use bins to dispose of their litter. However, there are just a few available small bins around the square.
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