Croatian lawmakers want to pass legislation banning protests

Croatian lawmakers on Friday once again passed legislation banning protests in front of the Cabinet and Parliament buildings, which the country's Constitutional Court overturned last month. The court, Croatia's highest judicial body, annulled the law on a technicality, ruling that it had been adopted with fewer votes than required for a measure covering basic rights and freedoms.

The law, criticized by labor unions and human rights groups as a tool for curbing public expression, now received the support of 83 deputies in the 151-seat chamber, more than needed. The ruling Croatian Democratic Union has insisted the measure was necessary for providing security for local and foreign dignitaries coming to the buildings. St. Mark's Square, which houses the government compound, has been a popular site for protests over the years.

Workers, war veterans, and police have staged protests there, regularly attracting strong media attention. Some have thrown eggs at officials.

On Thursday evening, about 500 people marched to the square to protest the arrest in Spain of Gen. Ante Gotovina, indicted by the U.N. court for wartime atrocities against the Serb minority, reports the AP. I.L.

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