Hajduk and Dinamo fans protest new Serb signs

Rival football fans in joint protest against Cyrillic signs in Vukovar

The sea view Poljud Stadium, home of Hadjuk Split football team, southern Croatia.

The sea-view Poljud Stadium, Split, home of Hajduk Split football team.

Split, 27.02.13: Rival football supporters joined in a protest mid-way through the first half, the latest stage in a campaign to stop Serb Cyrillic signs being introduced in Vukovar.

Large banners reading ‘Croatian Vukovar not Cyrillic’ were unfurled above the heads of Torcida and Bad Blue Boys, fans of Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split respectively, as the teams played the latest instalment of ‘the Eternal Derby’ on Wednesday evening. Dinamo eventually won 2-1.

The Croatian government announced in December it would include Serbian Cyrillic translations on all official signs, including road signs, in areas where Serbs make up more than a third of the population.

Serbs number around 35% in Vukovar, a town in east Croatia, on the border with Serbia. It was devastated in a brutal siege in 1991 by the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army.

The Croatian government is obliged to observe minority rights laws as it joins the EU in July. It was yesterday accused of a ‘cowardly silence’ on the issue. The new signs are due to be rolled out any day.

A group of Vukovar Croat war veterans has already vowed to resist the move ‘by any means necessary’, including force.

On top of a 20,000 strong local march in early February, the group is organising a much bigger event in capital Zagreb on March 5.

See also: Croatia joining the EU could be bad news for Bosnia.

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