The 100th anniversary of the Labin Republic took part last night in the Istrian town.
Attended by President Zoran Milanović, the event marked the historical moment on 2 March 1921, when Labin miners rebelled against the Italian rulers in Istria.
One of the causes of the strike was the decision by the mine owners not to pay a bonus for February 1921, since the miners had taken a day’s holiday to observe Candlemas.
The miners assembled and decided to occupy the mine works and proclaimed the republic in the occupied mines on 7 March with the slogan Kova je nasa (“The mine is ours”). They organised a government and the so-called red guard as a protection from the Italian law enforcement and started to manage the production of mines by themselves with the support of a section of farmers.
On April 8, 1921 the Italian administration in Istria, responding to requests for intervention from the mine owners, decided to suppress the republic using military force. A thousand soldiers surrounded the mine and eventually succeeded after suppressing the strong resistance of the miners. The arrested miners were sent to prisons in Pula and Rovinj.
President Milanović laid a wreath and lit a candle in Labin on the main square in Vinež on Tuesday afternoon.
“I am not a mining grandson, although my late grandfather Ante Milanović worked in the mine for some time. There was a coal mine in Sinj that extracted, it seems, in relation to this mine, a small 30 tons. In which local young men and my grandfather, a hard worker, a father of three children, worked,” said President Milanović.
He added that this rebellion was, in a way, the first uprising against fascism, and it had a relatively civilised outcome in relation to other uprisings and revolutions, large and small at the time.
“After these few revolutions that shook Europe, here in Labin a larger group of people united, above all, in the class struggle, in the fight against injustice, exploitation, exploitation, in the fight for human dignity. It lasted a month, they were defeated by military means, by force. Their organisation was not a strictly hierarchical organisation like the organisation of other revolutions that were developing in Europe at the time. They had a red flag, a sickle and a hammer, they had ideals, it was simply a fight of ordinary people for this better today and for an even better tomorrow,” said President Milanovic.
After the ceremonial session of the Labin City Council, President Milanović ended the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Labin Republic.