The president of the Anti-Fascist League (AFL), Zoran Pusic, said on Saturday that warnings about the fascistisation of society, stated a year ago at the AFL's founding session, had proven prophetic and that current developments in the country, particularly regarding media freedoms and culture, were worrying.
"One of the main duties of a democratic state is to protect its citizens and ensure freedom from fear; instilling fear in society is an indicator that a political system is moving towards totalitarianism," Pusic added.
"If that does run smoothly, there will always be regime-supporting thugs to facilitate the process," Pusic said, recalling simultaneous break-ins into the flats of the stage director and head of the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka, Oliver Frljic, and his partner and this week's attack on writer and journalist Ante Tomic.
Sanja Tabakovic of the Jewish Community of Zagreb said that there was a serious cause for concern and called for more action. "Since we established the Anti-Fascist League the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that we have found ourselves in a situation where we have to fight against the fascistisation of society in all segments and at all levels."
Actor and activist Vili Matula said that the petition signed by 4,500 people from the sectors of culture, science and education demanding the replacement of Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic, was "a response to the minister's lack of freedom which he has declared with a new cultural paradigm."
He described Hasanbegovic's statement that the only true victory in the 20th century was the one in the 1991-95 Homeland War as "a grotesque interpretation", concluding that the opportunity to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Neretva should not be missed to commemorate World War II heroes since no battle from that war had been commemorated since Croatia became an independent country.
"If someone questions anti-fascism, they are questioning basic human rights, media freedoms and normal living in a democratic and civilised country," said Croatian Journalists Association (HND) president Sasa Lekovic.
"Our society has turned into a video game with the red and the blue, the left and the right, there is no normal order of things, values or ethical standards, but we must not allow to become victims in that game," said Lekovic.
Honorary AFL president Juraj Hrzenjak said the ongoing revival of fascism did not only threaten values of anti-fascism, but resulted in attacks on "honourable people who are doing their best to protect those values."
Tea Vidovic of the Centre for Peace Studies commented on the current migrant crisis, saying that the EU had betrayed its own values in that regard.
What we have been witnessing since the closing of borders brings shame on the EU and Croatian politicians who believe that zero migrants is a positive result for Croatia, Vidovic said.
The AFL was founded a year ago by civil society organisations with the aim of promoting principles of humanism and values defended in the anti-fascist struggle and incorporated in numerous international conventions, declarations and the Croatian constitution.