Josipovic: Gay Pride parade in Split test of Croatia's democracy
After meeting organisers of a Gay Pride parade to be held in Split on June 9, President Ivo Josipovic said on Saturday that the parade would be a test of Croatia's democracy and that he did not believe the organisers would have to change the route of the procession, as demanded by a group of opponents of the Gay Pride parade, noting that the right to peaceful assembly is a constitutional right.
"The Gay Pride parade in Split will be a test of how much democratic and ready we are to accept every person and individual as equal to us. We can and must pass that test," Josipovic said after meeting representatives of the associations Domine, Kontra and Iskorak, which are to organise the second Gay Pride parade in the coastal city on June 9.
Josipovic said that he would not attend the parade, but that he was visiting Split today to express his support to the organisers of the event.
Asked to comment on a request by a civil initiative from Split which opposes the Gay Pride parade and does not want its participants to walk along the same route as last year, namely from Split's Djardin location to Marmontova Street to the seafront, Josipovic said that he did not believe the route would be changed.
"We know that the right to peaceful assembly is a constitutional right and the police will make an appropriate decision based on their powers," said the president.
Mirjana Kucer of the Domine association said the organisers of the Gay Pride parade had been granted permission by the city authorities, based on a meeting between the parade's organisers, city and police officials, to make it possible for participants in the walk to take the same route as last year.
"The chosen route does not impede traffic in any way and is outside the city's old walls, so there is no better route in Split," Kucer said, expressing confidence that this year's event would not be marked by riots and violence like last year's.