A Croatian war veteran was rushed to hospital after setting himself on fire during a protest by former soldiers outside a government ministry, hospital and police said Tuesday.
“Damir Cakinic was hospitalised overnight with serious injuries… and has burns to 40 percent of his body,” a doctor at a Zagreb hospital where the man was admitted said.
His life was not in danger, doctor Aljosa Matejcic added.
Police said only that a 50-year-old man had set
himself on fire in front of the veterans ministry, in central Zagreb, late Monday, without adding further details.
Djuro Glogoski, head of an association of war invalids, told media that Cakinic was a war veteran.
According to local media reports the man had arrived in front of the ministry, where veterans and invalids of the 1990s conflict here have been protesting for the past week, poured liquid over himself then and set himself alight.
The Vecernji list newspaper reported that he
shouted: “All for Croatia! Hang on!”
Several dozen veterans and invalids of the 1991-1995 war have been protesting about alleged potential cuts to their benefits and claim they want better protection for those who fought in the conflict.
They have also demanded the resignation of War Veterans Affairs’ Minister Predrag Matic.
Matic has called the protest a “political manipulation,” while both Prime Minister Zoran
Milanovic and President Ivo Josipovic said veterans’ rights would not be cut.
Croatia’s proclamation of independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 sparked the four-year war with rebel Serbs who opposed the move.