The United States embassy in Zagreb on Monday strongly condemned the march staged by the far-right Autochthonous Croatian Party of the Right, A-HSP, in the centre of Zagreb on Sunday.
At the march, which was intended to show support to US President Donald Trump, party members waved the US flag, along with the Croatian flag with an unofficial coat of arms resembling the one of Croatian WWII fascist Ustasa movement.
The procession of some 30 to 50 people also flew their A-HSP party flag with the Ustasa slogan ‘Za dom spremni’ (‘For the Homeland, ready!’) on it, as well as the flag of the national socialist National Democratic Party of Germany.
“The embassy of the United States most strongly rejects the neo-Nazi and pro-Ustasa views expressed during a demonstration of a few people in Zagreb on Sunday,” the embassy said in its statement.
“We condemn any attempt to link the United States with this odious ideology. Such a suggestion is an insult to the memory of the 186,000 US soldiers killed in Europe in the fight against Nazi Germany and several million innocent victims killed during World War II,” it added.
The Croatian government also condemned the event on Sunday.
“[We] strongly condemn today’s lining-up of members of the A-HSP party in Zagreb, which promotes the Ustasa ideology and Nazism, thus attacking the fundamental values of the Croatian constitutional system,” the government said in a statement.
Although the march was legally announced to the police, which ensured the security of the participants, A-HSP president Drazen Keleminec was arrested for shouting ‘Za dom spremni’, which is a misdemeanour under Croatian law.
Keleminec said on Sunday that a representative of the German far-right NPD party, Alexander Neidlein, was also present on the march to assist the A-HSP’s cause.
“Alexander Neidlein is here among us, a friend who came to us today to give support for the independent and sovereign state of Croatia in the battle against the Satan which rules the Croatian state,” he said.
He then shouted “Za dom spremni”, insisting that nobody could ban him from voicing the Ustasa slogan in public.
He explained that his party supports Trump because of his politics, especially his anti-immigration and anti-EU stances.
Keleminec however rejected comparisons with the nationalist Serbian Radical Party, which also publically supported Trump.
The A-HSP is known for its protests at which it expresses support for the Ustasa legacy and confronts anti-fascist groups.