Police had to intervene in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar on Monday when residents took to the streets in protest after the first bilingual signs, in latin and Serbian Cyrillic, were erected, reports daily Vecernji list.
Residents protested in front of the building of the Vukovar Police station, where the sign was put up at 6am on Monday morning, and also in front of the State Administration building, causing delays in that sign being put up. Mass protests in the lead up to the introduction of Serbian Cyrillic on official signs have fallen on deaf ears as the government fulfills its promise made earlier this year.
“The introduction of official bilingualism is not a matter for debate, It is in fact a direct application of our laws,” said Croatia’s Administration Minister Arsen Bauk, adding that the government wont just stop with Vukovar and will introduce Serbian Cyrillic signs on public institutions, police stations, post offices, streets and squares in at least 20 other counties where there are Serbian minorities.
The Constitutional Law on the Rights of Ethnic Minorities in Croatia allows for ethnic minorities, where they made up more than a third of a city’s population, to be entitled to have their language used for official purposes. Around 35% of Vukovar’s population is made up of Serbian nationals.