Croatian police have clashed with nationalist protesters who tried to take down an EU flag on the eve of the country’s referendum on membership.
About 1,000 people – including many war veterans – had held a rally to oppose Zagreb’s entry to the European Union in 2013..
Several people were injured and at least three were detained by police.
Campaigning for membership, Croatia’s foreign minister Vesna Pusic said it was ‘almost a matter of life and death’.
The latest polls suggest a ‘yes’ victory with up to 60 per cent of the vote – double the projected score of those against.
“I think Croatia can only benefit from it (EU membership). It will help sort out its economic and legal system. And even before actual accession it has to enact many reforms, which is good because it wouldn’t do them on its own. To put it simply, I will vote ‘yes’ because I think that’s the future,” said Bojana Ivanisevic, a 45-year-old lawyer in Zagreb.
Support for EU membership has been dented by the euro crisis, while opponents insist Croatia has nothing to gain by joining – and risks losing its sovereignty and national identity.