HNK, Bandić, godišnjica oslobođenja Zagreba.jpg
Photograph: HINA/Tomislav Pavlek/ tp

A ceremony was held on Sunday in Zagreb to mark the 71st anniversary of the liberation of the City of Zagreb and victory against Fascism as well as Europe Day and the event was organised in the Croatian National Theatre by the Association of Anti-Fascist Fighters of Croatia (SABH) whose leader Franjo Habulin said that anti-Fascist movement that defeated the Fascist forces in WW2 was the foundation of the present-day Croatia and Europe.

Habulin recalled that the third convention of State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH)  in May 1944 in Topusko adopted the declaration on basic rights of peoples and citizens of the Federal State of Croatia which he described as pillars of the present-day Republic of Croatia.

"Our roots are in the anti-Fascist movement in Croatia during World War II, and peace cannot be built on lies," Habulin said explaining that one should not declare the defeated forces victors and vice versa.

Attempts to equate Fascism with Communism only serves to justify crimes committed by Ustasha and (pro-Nazi) Ustasha ideology, but those two ideologies are opposite, Habulin said at the event attended by politicians and foreign ambassadors.

He admitted that there had been cases of deviation during the liberation from Fascism and mass executions had been perpetrated in the aftermath of the WW2, when peace had already reigned in Europe, but according to him this was not the reason for increasingly louder opposition to anti-Fascism.

On behalf of President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, her envoy Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic addressed the ceremony, and the mentioning of the President's name elicited a few boos from the audience, which prompted Bandic to comment that Croatians can elect their president every four years.

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