Thousands took part in the 18th Zagreb Pride Parade, held under the slogan "18 Proud Years" on Saturday afternoon outside the Mimara Museum in downtown Zagreb, where participants started their walk through the city centre to the Ribnjak park where an entertainment programme is to start at 6 pm.
“The message of this Pride parade (…) is that we are here, that this is not just a phase, that we are a part of the Croatian society, that we are not going anywhere and that we want full equality,” said Zagreb Pride programme coordinator Doria Jukic.
Jukic said that what had changed since 2002, when the event was organised for the first time, is the degree of violence and discrimination.
“Since 2002, support for the LGBT community has grown stronger but their everyday lives are still filled with discrimination, violence, homophobia, transfobia and bifobia, which is evident in their workplace, in streets, schools and institutions,” she said.
“We have to send out the message that we do not accept violence and we want the government, parliament and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic to say loud and clear that violence against LGBT persons is not alright,” said Jukic.
Before the start of the parade, organisers said they were proud that young people today grew up in a society where Pride marches were the oldest protest for human rights, noting that young people today were louder, braver and more visible in the fight for more streets and areas that were safe for all.
Several politicians came to support the Pride as well, including Social Democrat leader Davor Bernardic, members of the SDP Women's Forum and Youth Forum, SDP MP Gordan Maras, and Zagreb City Councillor Renato Petek from the Forward Croatia – Progressive Alliance party, as did other public figures.