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U.S. Department of State

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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement

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Press Statement by Nicholas Burns/Spokesman
June 6, 1997
Attacks on Croatian Presidential Candidates
Croatian presidential candidate and leader of the Social Liberal Party Vlado Gotovac suffered a cerebral concussion on Thursday after he was struck on the head by a military officer while addressing a campaign rally in Pula.
There have also been press reports that a second opposition candidate, Zdravko Tomac, narrowly escaped injury during a stone-throwing incident aimed at his campaign vehicle.
The United States deplores these violent incidents which threaten to mar what we expect to be a free and fair presidential election, scheduled to take place Sunday, June 15.
Without the ability to travel and speak freely, presidential opposition candidates have no opportunity to carry their message to the electorate.
The U.S. notes the arrest of two suspects in connection with the attack on Mr. Gotovac. The U.S. urges the Government of Croatia to prosecute the perpetrators of these attacks; supply effective protection to opposition candidates; and create a climate in which peaceful democratic opposition campaigning can take place.
The U.S. will be sending a team of election monitors under the auspices of the OSCE.

[end of document]

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