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Thousands Croatians march against government

13 march 2011, 02:25
Several thousand people marched in the Croatian capital Saturday calling for early elections and continuing a series of anti-government protests in Zagreb and other major Croatian towns since late February, AFP reports.

Banners carried by the protestors, who want conservative Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor to step down and call early elections, condemned injustice and called for a general strike.

The demonstrators, loosely organized on the social network Facebook, accuse the government of mismanaging the country and of corruption. General elections are due to be held late this year or in early 2012.

Kosor has repeatedly said the elections will be held by the end of the year. She insists that their date will be announced once talks on joining the European Union are concluded. The government hopes this will take place by July.

The opposition wants the elections to be held in the autumn.

Several hundred protestors gathered at a square in central Zagreb and then marched, joined by hundreds of others, through the downtown area of the capital.

During their march the demonstrators stopped by the Japanese embassy where they expressed their sympathy with the people of Japan, struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Anti-government protests were held Saturday in several other towns, gathering up to a few hundred people in each place.
Organizers said major protests would be held in Zagreb and other large towns on March 19.

Kosor took over at the helm of the government in 2009 when her predecessor Ivo Sanader, detained on suspicion of corruption, stepped down.

Croatia was hit hard by the global economic crisis and has seen negative growth for the past two years, recording its highest unemployment rate in eight years.

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