Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic and the EU-bound country's ombudsman on Friday slammed a recent protest against Roma families as shameful and discriminatory.
Earlier this week some 100 people protested in Skabrnje, a village near the coastal town of Zadar, against the arrival of two Roma families. The families wanted to settle in the village after they bought some 5,000 square metres (53,820 square feet) of land there.
The protesters told local media they worried the Roma would “steal and collect garbage”.
“As long as one can remember there were no Serbs or Romas in Skabrnje and it will remain that way in future,” one of the protestors was quoted as saying.
“There is no room for such statements in 21st century Croatia,” ombudsman Jurica Malcic said in a statement on Friday.
He slammed both the protest and the offer of Skabrnje's mayor to “buy off the Romas' land only that they could leave” as discriminatory.
Some 17 members of the two Roma families, who were under police protection, left the village late Thursday saying they feared for their lives, national television reported.