Visitors hold flags including one reading “Za Dom Spremni” or “For The Homeland, Ready!”, a motto used by the fascist Ustaše during WWII, during a rally in Bleiburg, Austria, Saturday, May 14, 2016. Thousands of far-right supporters have gathered here in southern Austria to commemorate the massacre of Croatian pro-Nazis by communists at the end of World War II. The event on Saturday comes amid a surge of far-right sentiments in the EU’s newest member country.
For Croatian nationalists, the Bleiburg site symbolizes their suffering under communism in Yugoslavia before they fought a war for independence in the 1990s.
The gathering Saturday on a vast field surrounded by mountains was attended by top Croatian officials and Croatian Catholic Church clergy who held a mass for the killed Croats.
The ultra-nationalists wore black T-shirts with the Ustaše’s “U” symbol and waved flags with inscriptions of their wartime motto.
“I’m here because my grandfather perished in the Bleiburg massacre,” said Elvis Duspara. “We Croats were never aggressors, we only defended our homeland. That’s why we proudly say: For the homeland, ready!”