More than 30,000 people from all over Croatia and neighbouring countries took part in Wednesday’s Vukovar Remembrance Day procession from the eastern town’s hospital to the Homeland War Memorial Cemetery, remembering 18 November 1991, when the town’s defence lines were broken after a three-month siege by the Yugoslav People’s Army and Serb paramilitaries, and paying their respects to the victims.
Among those walking were President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Parliament Speaker Josip Leko and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic. No incidents were reported, aside from a few boos for Milanovic as he was leaving the Memorial Cemetery after wreath-laying.
“Vukovar deserves having its tragedy marked in such a dignified manner, that we remember all those who were killed, went missing or died, that survivors pass through this remembrance procession. I hope that those who for the past two years organised a disgraceful observance of Vukovar’s tragedy and used it for politicking are sorry today. If they are truly sorry, then half is forgiven,” War Veterans Minister Predrag Matic said.
Opposition leader Tomislav Karamarko said the victims of Vukovar obliged everyone to fight for and create a better Croatia. “There are no divisions here. Those who insist on divisions aren’t welcome here,” he said, adding that everyone in Vukovar today was united in their love for the victims and the homeland.
The president of Croatia’s society of former Serb-run concentration camp inmates, Danijel Rehak, said justice was still far from having been served in Vukovar. “Two million shells fell on the town of Vukovar and there’s no house without a victim.”
After being divided and politicised for the past two commemorations, this year’s remembrance procession was united, with one instead of two columns taking part in it.