Marshal Tito Square brings controversy

Marshal Tito Square brings controversy


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Some 2,000 protesters carrying candles and dressed in red aprons bearing the slogan “Crime is a Crime” walked last week in a circle around the Zagreb’s Marshal Tito Square. The protesters demanded the square to be renamed Theatre Square and chanting “Tito a criminal.” Josip Broz Tito, who ruled Yugoslavia from 1944 to his death in 1980, is a controversial figure in Croatia adored by those nostalgic of communist times, while seen as a dictator by others, Javno reported.
Tito’s Yugoslavia had a communist government, but remained independent of the then-Soviet Union to become one of the most prosperous Eastern European countries, it was reported.
Organiser Josip Jurcevic was quoted as saying that Tito was responsible for “mass killings, tortures, prosecutions and forbidding of pluralism.” Some 200 supporters of Tito, who led the partisans in WWII against the Germans and their local allies, congregated opposite the square at a counter-rally organised by an anti-fascist association. They held a banner that read “Fascism? No Thank You” next to a photo of Tito.
Police, who prevented the two groups from coming into contact with each other, said four people had been detained for public order offences. Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic was quoted as saying there were “no historical reasons to change the square’s name,” which had been Theatre Square before WWII. “There are some people who are nostalgic for the Independent State of Croatia,” said Croatian President Stipe Mesic, referring to the country’s Naziallied WWII regime. Prisoners’ associations say more than 100,000 Croatians were jailed for political reasons by the former Yugoslav communist regime, it was reported.

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