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Croatia Gay Pride March Disrupted By Extremists

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CROATIA GAY RIGHTS PARADE
AP

ZAGREB, Croatia — Stone-throwing extremists disrupted a gay pride march in Croatia on Saturday, a day after the Balkan country was given the green light to join the European Union.

At least 100 people were detained and many others were injured after opponents of the march in the coastal town of Split attacked about 200 participants with rocks, bottles and firecrackers, state TV reported.

Riot police prevented direct clashes between the two groups, which were also separated by iron fences. Police said thousands lined the streets in protest of the march.

Croatia has pledged to protect human rights as part of efforts at EU membership after a series of wars in the Balkans in the 1990s. EU officials said Friday that Croatia could join in 2013, after years of tough negotiations.

But organizers of the Split march accused the police of not doing enough to protect them.

"The state institutions did not do their job properly," activist Sanja Juras said.

Amnesty International described the violence as a "disgrace."

"The Croatian authorities need to act to stop this happening in future," said Nicola Duckworth, the human right group's director for Europe and Central Asia, urging an immediate investigation and punishment for the attackers.