Mesic leads Croatia's anti-fascist celebrations

May 10, 2000 -- (RFE/RL) On 8 May, Mesic became the first Croatian president since independence in 1991 to preside over the annual ceremony to honor the victory of Josip Broz Tito's Partisans in World War II.

He addressed his audience as "dear friends and comrades," "Jutarnji list" reported. He argued that the victory over fascism in 1945 had the support of the majority of "freedom- loving Croats and Serbs," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported.

The president stressed that "just as we opposed Nazi and fascist forces in 1941, so we opposed Milosevic in 1991." Deputy Prime Minister Goran Granic added that "we must now build the society for which [the World War II veterans] also fought." Tudjman, who fought in the Partisans and later became Tito's youngest general, kept the Tito-era holiday to mark the end of World War II but did not preside over the ceremonies.

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