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Protesting Croatian War Veterans Shelter Inside Church

More than 100 Croatian war veterans have taken refuge inside a church in central Zagreb after police disrupted their antigovernment protest in front of the parliament and government headquarters.

The veterans, some in wheelchairs, went inside the St. Mark's church under the protection of priests on May 28 after police tried to disperse their monthslong sit-in calling for more assistance from the government.

They were still inside the church on May 29 with police blocking dozens of veterans' supporters from joining the protest.

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic accused the opposition HDZ party of being behind the protests, adding he had proposed to meet with war veterans' representatives on June 1.

HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko called Milanovic’s statement “an insult” to the war veterans.

The veterans from Croatia's 1991-95 war for independence from Yugoslavia have been campaigning since September 2014 for better status, including improved social and medical care, jobs, and other benefits.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa