Hundreds of people joined a pro-LGBTI protest in Zagreb after unknown attackers released tear gas during a gay club night.
On early Sunday morning (12 February), someone threw a canister of tear gas into Super Super club, where a gay club night was in full swing.
About 300 people were packed into the club at the time of the attack; only two were injured while trying to escape the venue.
Witnesses said they immediately thought of the Orlando shooting, and some have called the attack attempted mass murder.
Police are investigating, but so far no suspect has been named.
Super Super told Gay Star News they wouldn’t let the attack stop them, and they would continue hosting LGBTI parties once the necessary renovations were done.
‘Of course, Saturday’s attack has come to us as an reminder we should improve our security measures, as standard club procedures which are used in Croatia are clearly not enough once you become someone’s target,’ they said.
‘And we are already working on that part. Our friends’ wellbeing in Super Super premises is our top priority now.’
On Monday night (13 February) a thousand people came together to stand for tolerance.
— Martina Maric (@Artina_MM) February 13, 2017
Organized by Zagreb Pride, last night’s demonstration was set to ‘protest against hatred and violence’.
Attendees assembled in the city’s Trg Zrtava Fasizma Square (Square of the Victims of Fascism).
— ✌☮#UpTheRebels☮✌ (@Chara_fc) February 14, 2017
They waved rainbow flags and candles, and some carried banners reading ‘we don’t tolerate intolerance’.
Others carried signs reading ‘we are unstoppable’ and ‘love is stronger than hate’.
— Milan Čekić (@milancekic) February 13, 2017
Sandra Bacic, a representative for the Association of the Defense of Human Rights, accused the government and its conservative stance to be partly responsible for the attack, according to French newspaper Libération.
In Croatia, the rights of LGBTI people are gradually improving.
Anti-discrimination laws include sexuality and gender identity, and gender expression.
Same-sex couples can register as life partners, but after a 2013 referendum, the Constitution explicitly bans same-sex marriage.
Adoption is also not open to same-sex couples.
Gay Star News has contacted Zagreb Pride for comment.