Protesters in downtown Samobor (Photo: Emica Elvedji/PIXSELL) Protesters in downtown Samobor (Photo: Emica Elvedji/PIXSELL)

Organized by a Homeland War veteran's association, the protest was a reaction against the recent outburst from HSS Party Chairman Krešo Beljak, who stated on social media that the former Yugoslav secret service had not killed enough Croatian emigrants.

"We are not here solely because of Krešo Beljak. He is just the straw that broke the camel's back. We could not simply overlook the fact that a person with such an embarrassing resume, a convicted criminal, an upstanding politician, assume the role of the moral vertical of this society," said Ivan Tomić, a veteran of the 4th Guards Brigade.

Protesters such as Mijo Zrnović Šepina, a veteran of the Homeland War, made it clear that they would no longer tolerate this kind of behavior from leading officials: "Lately it has become common place to insult the values of the Homeland War, volunteers and veterans. It has long since surpassed what one would consider normal."

Beljak, who is also the mayor of Samobor, commented on the protest during an appearance on HRT's Sunday at 2 talk show, brushing it off as little more than a pre-election stunt.

"This is a lead up to the election campaign. This was a politically organized gathering, and the associations that stand behind this event are party activists. They are in a panic because they are worried that they're going to lose the next elections. So, they have engaged in their well-known rhetoric in a bid to avoid the inevitable, and that is that their HDZ will lose the elections," Beljak said.

Source: HRT