ZAGREB, Nov 18 (Hina) – An estimated 10,000 participants took part in the Vukovar Remembrance Procession on Wednesday morning, braving the foggy weather and despite epidemiological recommendations that the number of participants should be capped at 500 due to the epidemic of coronavirus.
“Today, walking through the streets of Vukovar, we express gratitude to Croatian defenders and people who suffered during the Homeland War, and we pay respects in a dignified manner how they deserved,” War Veterans’ Minister Tomo Medved said during the commemorative events.
Many participants wrapped themselves in national flags or flags of wartime military units or carried them during the procession. Many had protective masks, however, according to reporters, many were without them and the so-called anti-COVID restriction monitors distributed protective masks and disinfectants to participants on their way from the start of the walk to the memorial cemetery.
One of the participants, Hrvoje Marijanovic from Varazdin, admitted that “it is difficult to control such a high number of people. However, I simply had to come here. I am wearing a protective mask and I believe that everything will be o.k. in the end.”
Krunoslav Marincic said that he and his wife attended the commemorations in Vukovar on 18 November every year.
“We must honour the sacrifice of Vukovar… there would not have been us here if Vukovar had not made such sacrifice,” he added.
Vukovar’s Deputy Mayor Ivana Mujkic, who was in the procession on behalf of the mayor Ivan Penava diagnosed with coronavirus, said that it was difficult to assess the exact number of participants, but at least 5,000 had arrived in Vukovar today.
At the beginning of the procession, participants were asked to adhere to the COVID restrictions.
They were separated into several groups being led by flag bearers.
In the past days, epidemiologists recommended that the number of participants in the procession in Vukovar should be capped at 500 and that anti-COVID measures including wearing masks and keeping a distance should be respected.
In Vukovar, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic, and some other officials took part in the procession. Also, the envoy of the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Veran Matic, attended the commemorations.
President Zoran Milanovic laid a wreath at the memorial site at Ovcara on Wednesday morning.
Skabrnja also today commemorated the 29th anniversary of its fall into the hands of the Yugoslav People’s Army and local Serb paramilitaries.
The commemorative events were attended by delegations of the Croatian president, the parliament and the government, and fewer people than in the past years when about 15,000 people swarmed that town in the Dalmatian hinterland to remember the victims and the defenders.