Currently, Croatia has two LGBTQIA+ Pride parades: Zagreb Pride and Split Pride. They are held in June every year. The number of participants in the parades rises every year and we can see the progress within the LGBTQIA+ community.
In this post, we’ll talk the history of each parade in Croatia as well as all the event details for the upcoming marches. We invite you to come and support LGBTQIA+ rights and the community. Pride is always a big party. If you come, you will have fun!
1. Zagreb Pride Parade
Zagreb Pride was the first LGBTQIA+ Pride march in Croatia as well as in Southeast Europe. It takes place every year in June in Zagreb, the capitol. The Pride march was inspired by the Stonewall riots that took place in New York City in 1969. Stonewall is considered by the LGBTQIA+ community to be the most important event that led to the modern gay liberation movement and The Gay Liberation Front.
Zagreb Pride is a completely volunteer-based event and organized by the NGO Zagreb Pride – a queer-feminist and anti-fascist organization which exists for the achievement of social justice and systematic improvement of LGBTQIA+ rights through advocacy for the public good.
The first Pride was held in June 2002 and it was quite risky. It was the first gay event in Croatia and the society as a whole wasn’t informed about the LGBTQIA+ community at the time. There were around 200 participants who were insulted by homophobic opponents. They were shouting homophobic catchwords such as “Kill the Serb”, “Fags to concentration camps”, “Heil Hitler”, etc. Some also threw teargas on the participants.
In recent years, Croatian society has become more liberal and open-minded. In 2018, more than 10.000 people participated in the march. People from all the parts of the country come to Zagreb every year to celebrate and show support for LGBTQIA+ rights, including a number of public figures including Mirela Holy (a politician), Daniela Trbović (a television presenter), Nina Violić (an actress), Mile Kekin (a musician), Edo Popović (a writer), and many more. The parade ends at Ribnjak, a beautiful park in the center of Zagreb where several bands play their songs and everybody celebrates! Donate to Zagreb Pride here.
Zagreb Pride Parade 2020 – Event:
Meeting Point: Muzej Mimara, Trg Franklina Delanoa Roosevelta 5, 10000 Zagreb
Date and Time: Saturday, June 13, 2020
2. Split Pride Parade
Split Pride is an event equal to the Zagreb Pride which also promotes LGBTQIA+ rights. The first Split Pride was organized in June 2011. It was only the second city to have a Pride parade, after Zagreb. This movement was extra risky since Split is well-known as a conservative city.
The first Split Pride was a big step for the LGBTQIA+ community, but a lot of bad things happened. Around 300 activists marched through the city, whom were drastically outnumbered by opponents. Anti-gay protestors marched and threw rocks, teargas, and bottles at the Pride activists. Unfortunately, the police didn’t protect them effectively.
The second Split Pride was more successful, gathering around 700 participants, including some from the neighboring countries. Many public figures also marched, including Predrag Lucić (theater director), Ante Tomić (a writer), Vesna Pusić (a politician), Damir Urban (a musician), Boris Dežulović (a journalist), and many more. Around 900 police officers were engaged to protect the participants.
Split Pride has grown significantly over the years and it has become more accepted and even embraced by parts of the local community. It is important to note that there is still a heavy police presence every year to ensure protection for the participants. Since 2011, the parade walks through the city center every June, ending on Narodni Trg. Tourists and locals alike often join in.
Split Pride Parade 2020:
Meeting Point: Đardin, Sredmanuška, 21000 Split
Date and Time: Saturday, June 20, 2020 18:00 to 23:30
3. Osijek Pride Parade
In September 2014, Osijek was the third city in Croatia to host a LGBTQIA+ Pride parade. Many people from Serbia and Greece came to support the Osijek Pride. After Osijek Pride, Croatia became the first country in the region to hold three or more Pride parades. Unfortunately, the idea of the Osijek Pride didn’t survive past the first and 2014 was the only year it was successfully organized. In 2015, Pride was canceled because the organization team didn’t have enough members.
4. Rijeka March
In June 2012, Rijeka gave its support to the Split Pride by organizing a march similar to Pride, which took place three hours before the start of Split Pride. Three hundred people marched through the city center to show their love and support to the LGBTQIA+ community. Rijeka Pride was planned for the next year, but it was never realized due to a lack of volunteers.