ZAGREB – For the homeland ready

Since Friday (1 May), the salute ”for the Homeland ready” has become quite the debated topic between Christian Democrats (HDZ) and Socialdemocrats provoked by president Zoran Milanovic who had left the 25th anniversary of Operation Flash in Okucani after two men in T-shirts displaying the Croatian Defence Force (HOS)’s coat of arms made a salute used by the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime during World War II.

SDP leader Davor Bernardic said on Sunday (4 May) that Croatia must not be hostage to the salute and to “the indecisive Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who hides behind his brown-noser Gordan Jandrokovic”. The SDP, Bernardic said, is taking a clear stance: It wants to offer full respect to the defenders and true heroes of the Homeland War, ban the Ustasha salute in public spaces and let the law regulate the issue.

Parliament Speaker and HDZ Secretary-General Gordan Jandrokovic announced on Sunday he was taking legal action against the SDP leader over his offensive remarks, accusing the president of taking the helm of left-wing political groups to offset the incompetence of SDP leaders and of resorting to ideological divisions to keep these groups alive.

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said that every politician should be able to show resilience to acts of provocation.

The head of the association of retired Croatian army generals (HGZ), Pavao Miljavac, said on Saturday (2 May) that the Croatian society should move on from the Partisans and Ustashas and all symbols of the past political systems.

The salute was incorporated into the coat of arms of the Croatian Defence Force (HOS), the armed militia of the far-right Croatian Party of Rights, which defended Croatia during the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

Milanovic later said that the display of the HOS insignia was an unprecedented act of sabotage, blaming it on government protocol. (Karla Junicic, EURACTIV.hr)

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