After I took the day off last Friday and traveled to Krk and Plitvice last weekend, I’m back in Zagreb now where there’s a lot of stuff happening this week. On Thursday, there’s the first anniversary of the protest called “Croatia can do better!”, which drew large crowds out to Zagreb’s main square last year and marks the largest protest in Croatian history. My organization is co-hosting the protest, everyone’s hopes are high that we can repeat last year’s success. Everyone in the office is working very hard to make the protest a success. I was told that this protest is one of the most important events this year, and I’m happy I can be a part of it. We will be protesting the Croatian government’s educational reform, which includes citizen education programs, the topic I’ve been working on so far. Political parties and groups in Croatia are trying to politicize this educational reform, which is supposed to strengthen citizen education, health and sexual education as well as media literacy in Croatian schools, and use it for their benefit. Religious groups like the catholic church, that have a big impact on the Croatian society, are advocating for a very conservative interpretation of citizen education. They want to teach children that homosexuality, abortion and the like are morally wrong and promote their hateful christian agenda (seems familiar, doesn’t it? @MikePence). A few years ago, the catholic church even organized rallies across the country to protest marriage equality and called a referendum in which 65% of Croats voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Despite all these conservative groups gaining influence, the organization I’m working with hopes to win people’s minds on the rally on Thursday and raise awareness for the problematic educational reforms the government proposed. I’m personally very excited to march on Thursday and get a sense of what the civil society in Zagreb is capable of doing.
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