Reaction to the Illegal Conduct of Split Police
January 6th, 2013
To whom it may concern,
This press release is intended to raise public awareness about the scandalous and illegal conduct of the Split Police.
Namely, yesterday, January 5th, 2013, the fourth “plesnjaQ” was scheduled to take place. “plesnjaQ” is a party organized by the Split LGBT community, and is one of the activities that have recently began (alongside movie projections, cultural and sports activities) and have great importance in regards to strengthening the Split’s LGBT community.
Yesterday the police disturbed, with no cause, those attending the party in such a way that police officers came to the premises of the “plesnjaQ” party twice (first time after 9pm and the second time after 10pm) demanding that the music be turned down and asking to see the organizers identification cards. The music coming from neighboring cafes was much louder so there was no need for such conduct by the police. Finally, around 11:30pm police officers came again and requested that the premises be vacated while telling the organizers: “either we will chase these people away, or you will”, even though the premise where the party was taking place is licensed to work till 1am and despite the fact that the music was no louder than usual and public peace and order were not being disturbed.
We stress that it is extremely important for all discriminated groups to have safe spaces where they may gather, and that the role of the police should be one of protecting citizens from discrimination and violence and not oppressing already marginalized groups.
Due to everything that happened we will request a report the conduct of the Police Department of the Split-Dalmatia County. Additionally, we will immediately inform the Ministry of Internal Affairs about these events, seeing as there is a history of unprofessional conduct by the Split police in cases of violence against members of the LGBT community. We will request that the officers in question be sanctioned.
Also, we wish to stress that this does not represent an isolated incident. The conduct of the Police Department of Split-Dalmatia County is most worrisome in regards to other examples where rights of LGBT persons were violated. Namely, in 2011 there was a violation of the right to public assembly of LGBT persons, when the police did not adequately protect participants of the first Split Pride. Illegal conduct of police officers can also be noted in the hate crime case of Bacvice (Split), in June 2012, when police officers insulted victims of violence and allowed their attackers to continue making threats. In said case the police officers were not punished, moreover, half a year later their information has still not been given over to the victims’ attorney.