Representatives of the People's Coalition on Friday laid wreaths and lit candles at Zagreb's central Mirogoj cemetery on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the military and police Operation Storm, Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian Veterans Day, saying that they wanted to mark this day in a dignified manner and without involving politics.

The president of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Zoran Milanovic, said he came to Mirogoj to pay his respects, lay a wreath and light a candle.

"It is important to commemorate this day important for the entire country in Zagreb, the capital of all Croats, and in Knin, which is one of the cities that were liberated (21 years ago today)," Milanovic said.

He also explained why he did not join the celebration in Knin..

In the past several years, the celebration in Knin had turned into a political event. People are going there for patriotic reasons but, unfortunately, it has turned into a party rally, Milanovic said.

He stressed he had been going to Knin regularly, knowing what would happen in incident situations "provoked by the other side"... This year, let them do this alone," he said.

He said August 5 should be marked in a dignified fashion and that it should be a celebration, when one should be merry and not gloat, so as to avoid having the celebration turn into someone else's misery.

He declined to comment on Wednesday's a peaceful counter-protest by Croatian war and civil associations in Zagreb.

The leader of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS). Kresimir Beljak said he was very emotional today. "This is the day when our cities were liberated and I will celebrate it in peace with my family," he explained.

Wreaths were also laid by Croatian Pensioners' Party president Silvano Hrelja and Croatian People's Party vice president Anka Mrak Taritas.

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