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Protests over bilingual signs spread in Croatia

Protests over bilingual signs spread in Croatia
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The mayor of Vukovar in Croatia has called for calm after riots on Monday against bilingual public signs in both Latin and Cyrillic lettering. But the protests have spread.

Croatian law says bilingual signs must be used when an ethnic minority is at least 33% of the population.

In Virovitica the opposition HDZ leader says the government is being insensitive.

“These signs should only be used when they foster better co-operation and understanding between the Croat majority and the Serb minority. At the moment this isn’t the case in Vukovar. The government is irritating citizens and insulting their feelings,” said Tomislav Karamarko.

Anti-Serb graffiti has disfigured an Orthodox church in Dubrovnik. Vukovar’s mayor says it is all about politics, not genuine grievances.

“This may be an attempt by the opposition HDZ and the Croatian party of Rights to cause disturbances throughout the country and destabilise the government,” said Zeljko Sabo.

Osijek has also seen protests, but in Vukovar where it all started Mayor Sabo says he believes no-one is bothered, and that he wonders why no-one rioted when, in 2009, bilingualism was introduced by the parties now in opposition.