zlatko hasanbegovic.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Nikša MILETIĆ / mm

Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic has said in his comment on a protest organised by the Workers' Front on Monday that any democracy allows its citizens to protest.

An estimated 1,000 protesters who gathered outside the government offices in Zagreb demanded that the new government led by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic should step down.

"It is a democratic right. We are a democracy, there is freedom of assembly and freedom of expression of all political and non-political demands," Hasanbegovic said on Tuesday during a visit to Dubrovnik.

Asked by reporters how he would respond to the demonstrators' demand that he should resign, the minister said that this "is not on the agenda".

Asked about the decision of several dozen members of the Croatian Association of Dramatic Artists to leave the association because they were displeased by its work and its leadership, the minister said that it was their right, noting that only a small number of members decided to express their dissatisfaction in this way, while the majority did not follow their example.

Hasanbegovic said that during his term he would give priority to the implementation of the project to upgrade the Croatian History Museum in Zagreb, which he described as "a strategic state cultural project."

Asked why he had dismissed the museum's director (Natasa Matausic), Hasanbegovic explained that she had not been replaced, but that she had served as acting director, and that a new director had been appointed after his predecessor (Culture Minister Berislav Sipus) advertised a vacancy for that post.

"The previous minister advertised a vacancy and several applicants sent in their applications, and the new director Matea Brstilo Resetar has been appointed based on her CV," Hasanbegovic said.

He also reassured the Dubrovnik county authorities that the ministry would support projects important for that part of Croatia.

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