AN EFFIGY depicting a gay couple with a baby has been burnt at a 150-year-old carnival in Croatia in front of cheering homophobic crowds.
The event, condemned by Croatia’s president Zoran Milanović as “shameful”, took place in Imotski, a town in the south of the country, on Sunday.
The figure showed two men kissing while holding a baby with the face of Nenad Stazić, a social democrat MP.
It was burnt at the end of the “Bakova povorka” masked procession, The Times reports.
As the fire was lit, the festival’s announcer said: “My head is spinning from this culture of death, and since my body is ailing, let’s set this grotesque family with baby Nenad Stazić on fire.”
Croatia’s president Zoran Milanović joined LGBTQ+ activists in condemning the event, which he described as an “inhumane, totally unacceptable act”.
He said in a statement: “The organisers who staged this shameful event, in the name of tradition, deserve the strongest public condemnation because of the hatred they have demonstrated towards others.
“Intolerance and inhumanity are not and will not be a Croatian tradition.
“The event was observed by many children who could witness the spreading of hatred and inciting to violence.”
Mr Milanović also demanded an apology from the organisers of the event, the Independent reports.
Brian Finnegan, a spokesman for LGBTQ+ rights organisation ILGA-Europe, said the burning of the effigy represented “another sign of the rise in hate in Europe that is being fuelled by anti-LGBT rhetoric”.
He added: “This is a clear expression of hatred.”
Education Minister Blazenka Divjak and Economy Minister Darko Horvat also condemned the act.
Arsen Bauk MP announced he would file a criminal complaint against the organisers of the parade, Total
Croatia News reports.
According to Balkan Insight, one of the carnival organisers told local media: “We remain conservative, sticking to tradition. Give the baby to a mother, as the saying goes. We think that’s right.”
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Burning effigies is a satirical tradition at Croatian carnivals, with past incidents including the torching of a children’s book about same-sex families in 2018.
Croatia has recognised same-sex partnerships since 2014, but many conservative communities are still opposed to LGBTQ+ rights, according to Euronews.
Gay couples in Croatia do not have the right to adopt, but earlier this year, the country’s highest court ruled that they could become foster parents.
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Source: The Sun UK