New information about the attacks on gay men in Zagreb

New testimonies by eyewitnesses and the late 2020 Molotov cocktail attack on a gay man in Maksimir are undeniable proof that a violent homophobic gang has been roaming Zagreb’s parks and gay haunts for months now.

A man who witnessed an attack on another gay man in late August and prevented it from escalating further has contacted Zagreb Pride as part of our legal support to victims of violence and discrimination. The victim was being beaten up by two homophobes armed with batons when the witness bravely intervened. This hate crime also took place in a park known as a gathering place for gay men. As far as we know, the case has not been reported. It is not uncommon for even the worst cases of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation to go unreported, and for the vast majority of them to go unrecorded.

The witness also reports that he is personally acquainted with the victims of yet another identical attack, which took place in summer 2020, also in Maksimir Park. The two men were first attacked physically, and then with a flammable substance.

The circumstances have been reported to the Zagreb police in great detail, and we urge all witnesses and victims of these and similar attacks to contact usZagreb Pride can mediate free legal representation and provide support for victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings.

These are not isolated incidents, but severe and brutal attacks on gay men, hate crimes whose outcomes could have been fatal. These are also attacks on the entire LGBTIQ+ community of Zagreb and Croatia, unprecedented in recent decades.

We urge the police to protect all public spaces in Zagreb, as they belong to all citizens. We demand that they find the perpetrators of these homophobic attacks and file appropriate criminal charges in connection with the hate crimes, and that victims and witnesses be treated with dignity, respect and sensitivity, as stipulated by Directive 2012/29/EU.

The victims of these right-wing gangs aren’t just gay men, but also members of the Roma, Serbian and African communities in Croatia. It is extremely important for us as a community to oppose right-wing violence and bring the perpetrators to justice. We can do that by assisting in the investigation and condemning the attackers, but never their victims.