The Democratic Alliance of Serbs (DSS) on Tuesday criticised police for avoiding to respond to the spreading of hatred and inter-ethnic intolerance. 

"The spreading of chauvinist nationalism instills fear in people, not just Serbs but Croats as well," party leader Jovica Radmanovic told a news conference.

"The police must press misdemeanor charges in cases that contain elements of incitement to inter-ethnic hatred and intolerance because only that way will groups who commit such offences in an organised way have less and less courage to repeat them," said Radmanovic.

He expressed the belief that by responding leniently to such incidents the police "are promoting the freedom to express hatred towards the Serb community."

"What kind of a system is it if its enforcers hide from a uniformed group singing Ustasha songs? Any spreading of hatred must be appropriately punished because otherwise there will be new marches and outbursts of hatred that the Croatian society does not need," the DSS leader said.

The DSS wants Croatia to respect the EU's fundamental principles, its democratic legacy and values and to ensure better living standards for its citizens and protect human and minority rights, said Radmanovic.

"There is no room for hate in our political programme and we will always react to hate because, regardless of the past, a people does not deserve to be a hostage of distorted interpretations of narrow-minded people," Radmanovic said, adding that Croatian Serbs should not be afraid because they were not alone.

"The Serb community has a new generation of people who will deal also with problems like this through an open dialogue and who will not allow anyone to take us back to the 1940s and 1990s whenever they feel like it. Our priority is a better future," he said, calling on all Croatian citizens to oppose the fomenting of hatred and tensions.

DSS officials said Croatian political officials were cynical because statements they made during official visits abroad, especially Israel, were different from what they were saying in Croatia.

They particularly hold this against President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic who, they are confident, would have least difficulty changing the course of debates about historical topics since as president she was not tied to any party policy.

DSS deputy leader Srdjan Milakovic said Grabar-Kitarovic's statement that she would not allow Operation Storm to be evaluated according to non-Croatian and anti-Croatian standards was as expected.

"The President obviously does not have the courage for a different political course, for which she has more room than political parties," said Milakovic.

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