Zagreb Pride is the annual gay pride festival of Zagreb, Croatia, which first took place in 2002 and now occurs in June (the Saturday closest to June 27) of each year, lasting for a few days. It is organised by (Zagreb) Pride Committee that is formed in January of the new Pride year. Pride Committee is a group of individuals and it is logistically supported by various human rights and LGBTIQ groups. [1] Pride receives funding from the City of Zagreb [2], as well as a number of international human rights organisations [3] and embassies. [4]

The event usually consists of a 40-minute Pride March through the city center with banners, flags, and shouted slogans, followed by a gathering at Zrinjevac Park where speeches are given by LGBTIQ activists. In some years "pre-program" events are held in the days leading up to the march. Each year the organizers adopt a theme and a collection of principles and values called the "Pride platform", which is designed to be reflected in the march, speeches, and publicity for the event. [5]

Violence at first Zagreb Pride

On Saturday, June 29, 2002, the first Pride parade of sexual and gender minorities was held in Zagreb’s park Zrinjevac. Gay Pride Zagreb 2002 was entitled "Iskorak KONTRA predrasuda" (Coming out against prejudice). Approximately 300 individuals participated in the 2002 Pride event in Zagreb, including top state officials.

File:Nazist Pride 2002.jpg

2002: Protestors on the western side of Zrinjevac Park. On the right is Croatian TV show host Pjer Žardin, holding a sign reading (translated into English) "No to homo rights".

Sometime around 9am just before the gathering unknown attackers beat up Mario Kovač, Croatian theatre director, who was supposed to be Pride’s master of ceremonies, at Kvaternik Square and took his cell phone. [6] As the gathering progressed, homophobic opponents to Gay Pride Zagreb rallied at the western side of Zrinjevac Park, yelling "Go to Serbia", "Kill the Serb", "Fags to concentration camps", "Heil Hitler", "Sieg heil", "Die", and "We are Aryan", and then invoked the name of Franjo Tuđman. [7] Some of them tried to jump over the iron fence put up at Zrinjevac Park, but were prevented from doing so. Throughout the gathering the police used video cameras to record it. [8]

As the gathering was coming to an end, tear gas was thrown at the Pride crowd assembled at Zrinjevac. [9][10]

Most citizens managed to leave the gathering peacefully, and security and police vehicles took the speakers to safety. However, it was then that the bullies started rounding the city center and attacking participants of the gathering, as well as passers-by. During and after the gathering, some twenty people were attacked and injured. The police brought in 27 disorderly persons (11 as a preventive measure, 10 for disorderly conduct, and 6 in order to establish their identity). [11]

Several skinheads who threatened them and cursed them, which led to another police intervention, met the organizers of the event, who after the gathering attempted to take the props to a van that was waiting for them in Đorđić Street. The organizers left the gathering with the help of the police. [12]

Following the gathering, approximately twenty citizens were beaten up in about ten incidents. [13] Net club Mama was attacked. According to Teodor Celakoski, manager of the Mama club, seven skinheads stormed into the club, receiving instructions on where to go via the cell phone. [14] Upon their arrival, they started to harass people, asking them who had gone to the Gay Pride. They randomly chose three people and beat them up. [15] After the gathering, nine attackers attacked the guests of Močvara in Tomić Street. [16] Most commentators agree that had it not been for the police cordon, the gathering would have ended in an explosion of violence. [17]

Second Zagreb Pride

Between 200 and 300 participants [18] of the Zagreb Pride gay parade gathered on Zrinjevac again and proceeded, with stronger police protection than the first year.

The participants in the parade yelled "Gay is OK" (that is the most famous Croatian and Serbian Pride slogan, something like "We're here we're queer..." in the US) and "Love is Love" - the title of tv gay rights advertising campaign that was banned by Croatian Radiotelevision in 2001, that is also a popular slogan of Croatian LGBTIQ movement, and called for new gay and lesbian rights legislation.

Political impact

After the second Pride event in Zagreb, anti-discrimination provisions were incorporated into the nation's laws (Penal Code, Gender Equality Law, Law of Science and Higher Studies, Media Law, Law of Same-sex Relationships, Labour Code). See Gay rights in Croatia.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender has been forbidden since 2003 by the Labour Legislation, Gender Equality Law as well as in the Law of Science and Higher Studies. (For example, it is forbidden to discriminate against homosexuals applying for higher studies at universities.) According to the Croatian Penal Code, it is also forbidden to produce, sell, import/export or by Internet propagate homophobic material to the wider public. People who do so can be sentenced up to a year in prison. [19][20][21]

It is also forbidden to present homosexuals and homosexuality in media in a degrading or discriminatory way. [22]

New legislation now provides gay couples the same legal rights as their unmarried straight counterparts. It gives same sex partners of at least three years the same rights as unmarried cohabiting opposite sex partners, including the right to legal regulation of property and mutual responsibility for financial support. [23][24] [25]

Victims of LGBTIQ violence and discrimination became more willing to report incidents to police and advocacy organizations. [26] [27] [28]

Third Zagreb Pride

Again under heavy police protection, in 2004 the Pride parade marched through the streets of downtown Zagreb. The parade lasted about half an hour, after which the participants spoke against homophobia and intolerance of the Catholic church and other denominations in Croatia. Another special focus was transphobia within gay and lesbian community, as well as in the rest of society. Organizers stood for same-sex marriages and adoption. The establishment of advisory centers was announced, to work on the prevention of AIDS; the participants promoted the use of condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Fourth Zagreb Pride

The fourth Pride in 2005 was organized by a femminist group Epikriza, and it promoted a registered partnership law proposed by two Sabor members, one of SDP and one liberal independent member. It was the first Pride not organized by its Pride Committee.

At the beginning of June, most prominent LGBTIQ group Iskorak ("Coming out", also can be translated as "Step forward"), which has been that year's logistic support, announced that its activists would not organize Pride before the summer break, also stating that the Pride march was irritating citizens of Zagreb by blocking the public transport for a few minutes, and that Pride was at that time useless to the LGBTIQ community in Croatia. [29] They proposed that a concert with "big names" outside of city center would be more appropriate, but it was never organised. Instead Iskorak's Pride project was replaced with the Coming Out project. Croatian homosexuals go public.

With just a few weeks of preparations and about US$1,500 [30], an informal and until that day unknown feminist group Epikriza organized a small march in July with about 100 people and without any program. [31] The group got media support and advices from former Pride organizers not involved with Iskorak [32], and logistical and finacial support by Kontra and Center for peace studies [33].

First Eastern European Pride

The First Eastern European Pride, called The Internationale Pride, was organized to affirm the right to freedom of assembly in Croatia and other Eastern European states, to promote LGBTIQ rights in the region, and to encourage organization of Pride events in areas lacking them. This was also fifth Croatian and fith Zagreb pride.

The international event was held in Zagreb, June 22-26, 2006, and brought together representatives of those Eastern European and Southeastern European countries where the sociopolitical climate is not ripe for the organization of Prides, or where such events are expressly forbidden by the authorities. From 13 countries (including representatives from Kosovo), that participated, only Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and Latvia have been organizing Prides, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovakia and Lithuania have never had Prides before. The attempt to organize such an event in Belgrade, Serbia in 2001, ended in a bloody showdown between the police and the counter-protesters, with the participants heavily beaten up

This Pride event is not only based on regional solidarity but is also jointly organized on the principles of non-violence and human rights standards. [34]

(Read more about first Eastern European Pride on Notable pride events in the article Gay pride parade.)

Popular slogans and banners

(translated into English)


  • Love is love - the most significant slogan of Croatian LGBTIQ movement
  • Gay is okay - the most famous Croatian and Serbian Pride slogan
  • Jesus loves me - yelled at third Zagreb Pride


  • Come out of the silence
  • Let's be brave
  • Thanks to the goddess that I'm a lesbian
  • I'm a proud fag
  • I'm sick of explaining
  • Transgender is pretty
  • Homophobes are people too
  • No sex before registration
  • Homophobia is illness
  • Sex education in schools!
  • Fags and dykes against pedophilia
  • I love who I want
  • Long live perversity
  • No to NATO
  • Nothing is going to spoil this day for me
  • I love Carla Del Ponte (two-way interpretation - identification with the "anti-icon" of far right wing population; or author's admiration of Carla's gender-transgressive looks)

List of Zagreb Prides and supporters

  • Gay Pride Zagreb 2002 - "Coming out Against Prejudice"
    • Time: June 29 2002
    • Theme: Steping out against prejudice and homophobia.
    • Organizers: Gay Pride Committee
    • Supporters: Iskorak (Group for the rights of sexual and gender minorities) and Lesbian group Kontra [35] [36]
  • Zagreb Pride 2003 - "Proud Again"
    • Time: June 28 2003
    • Theme: Demanding for the New legislation
    • Organizers: Zagreb Pride Committee
    • Supporters: Iskorak and Kontra [37]
  • Zagreb Pride 2004 - "Vive la difference!"
    • Time: June 16 2004
    • Theme: Transphobia; hompohobia and intolerance of the Catholic church
    • Organizers: Zagreb Pride Committee
    • Supporters: Kontra [38]
  • Zagreb Pride 2005 - "Proud together!"
    • Date: July 10 2005
    • Theme: Registrated partnership law
    • Organizers: Smart Software
    • Supporters: Kontra and Center for Peace Studies (Centar za mirovne studije) [39]
  • The Internationale Pride 2006, Zagreb - "To Live Freely"
    • Time: June 22 - 25 2006.
    • Theme: Importance of Pride Marches, freedom of public assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, right to participation, right to information, and right to culture.
    • Organizers: Regional Pride Committee
    • Supporters: Kontra (Croatia), Queer Zagreb (Croatia), Miks (Croatia), Cultural Street Gay Action - kugA (Croatia), Center for Peace Studies (Croatia), Women’s Room (Croatia), Inqueerzicija (Croatia), DIH (Slovenia), Organization Q (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Queer Belgrade (Serbia), Labris (Serbia), Spy (Serbia), Duga (Serbia), Gay straight alliance (Serbia), Gayten LGBT (Serbia), NLO (Serbia), Lambda (Serbia), ACT women (Serbia), Masso (Macedonia), QESh (Kosovo), GISh (Albania), Campaign Against Homophobia (Poland), Altera (Slovakia), ACCEPT (Romania), Queer Bulgaria (Bulgaria), Lithuanian Gay League (Lithuania), Mozaīka (Latvia), Southeastern European Queer Network (SEEQ) [40]

See also


hr:Zagreb Pride