Several hundred citizens gathered last Wednesday, January 16, 2013, at the „Common Sense Gatherings“ in Split and Zagreb, organized by the Youth of Split for Health Education and the Coordination of Associations for Secular Croatia, respectively, to support the Government’s program for creation of school curricula.
“We believe that in a secular state – and Croatia is a secular state by its Constitution – public education system has to be secular and that the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports should base its decisions on the education system on scientific achievements and constitutional and human rights values which are secular by their very nature“, Željko Peratović said in front of the several hundred citizens that gathered in Zagreb’s Cvjetni Square.
Peratović called on the Government to preserve in its plans and programs and not yield any ground to the pressure of the clerics in Croatia who, with their recent actions, practically declared war on education minister Željko Jovanović and his Health Education curriculum.
He demanded that the representatives of the Church in Croatia to respect the legally elected secular government and reserve its views on education, especially in the area of sexuality, for those citizens who chose to visit religious education, at school or in a church, and refrain from any provocation unbecoming to an institution like the Church.
Peratović expressed his gratitude to all citizens who braved the bad weather and came to the gathering to defend democratic and civic Croatia from the advances of the Church which look a lot like the promotion of Catholic faith-based dictatorship.
In Split’s Popular Square, known locally as the „Pjaca“, about 300 mostly young citizens turned up to give their support to the Government’s health education curriculum.
The reporter of H-alter.hr portal notes that the gathering was important for Split as a demonstration of the fact that the city has a civil scene of its own. The members of the associations present in the gathering noted, among other things, that last year’s Pride Parade was not an exception, but a sign that another Split is emerging – a modern and tolerant city that sees all of its citizens as equal.
“We give full support to the program based on contemporary science and scientific facts and on the aim to finally part ways with opinions stuck in ancient times“, said the organizers of the gathering, the Youth of Split for Health Education initiative.
There were no offensive or insulting banners or slogans in the gatherings, which passed peacefully and without incident. However, while in Split the Police were very discrete, with few police officers on the Pjaca itself (although contingent of riot police was deployed in the side streets), in Zagreb the Police presence prevented a group of young extremists who tried to provoke an incident.
H-alter.hr reports that halfway through the event, a group of about 50 young men approached the gathering, holding their fists high, and started singing the song Moja domovina (My Homeland). That provocation, however, was not treated seriously and the participants in the gathering caught up the song and started singing themselves“.
The organizers of a gathering in Zagreb said they were extremely satisfied with the gathering and how it proceeded, with hopes that such gatherings will not be necessary for the future. Željko Peratović added that it was the first-ever peaceful protest in defense of the secularity of the state and legitimacy of the elected Government.