Skip to content or view screen version

Croatian police violently stops Peace caravan for Palestine | 09.07.2005 11:31 | Anti-militarism | Repression

Croatian police violently stops Peace caravan for Palestine

Caravan for Palestine that left Strasbourg 5th of July to reach Jerusalem was stopped on a border between Slovenia and Croatia. One of the activists was arrested and deported back to Slovenia. Police used violence on the activists that were peacefully protesting with their hands in the air.

Caravan, composed of 150 people who believe in the power of human relationships and solidarity, convinced that the application of international law is the key to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Caravan is organized by The International Solidarity Movement and supported by the UN Commission on Human Rights (Geneva) and European parliament.
After Geneva, Milan, Trieste and Ljubljana, friday afternoon caravan took the road to Bregana border to spend the night in Zagreb, Croatia.

While searching one of the cars, police found plastic (!) gun and decided to block the caravan. One of the caravan passengers, Palestinian citizen with the legal domicile in Spain, didn't have a Croatian visa, so he's detained and inquired in detail by a secret police.
After interventions by French and German embassy, it seemed for a moment that visa will be released by the Croatian authorities. Nevertheless, police refuse to let him enter the country, so the other passengers responde with legitimate civil disobedience, deciding to stay on the frontier. In this moment on a border crossing there is about 30 policeman; some of them are acting aggressively, swearing and threatening Croatian journalist wit the arrest and the use of violence. After police's ultimatum to return to Slovenia within a minute with all the vehicles, caravan passengers gather around the bus, raising their hands in the air as a sign of protest. Police starts pushing and beating gathered crowd, including older people and small children. Violently abduct Palestinian citizen, denying access to his lawyer (which opposes Croatian law). He was pushed into police car and deported back to Slovenia. After seven-hours delay caravan, accompanied by the police, heads to the camping site from where they should depart towards Belgrade in the morning.

Along with the curses and beating, Croatian police showed high level of intolerance and unprofessionality.
That's how the caravan entered Balkans, a region that ws ought to learn yet why every single peace effort should be endorsed.