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    Posted November 17, 2012 by
    Zagreb, Croatia

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    Remembering Vukovar 1991


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     IvanKlindic shot these photos of people gathering in the streets of Zagreb, Croatia, yesterday on November 17, to commemorate those who were killed during the siege in Vukovar. "People had mixed emotions the whole day. People where a bit sad, but at the same time they where happy because Croatia is free country today," he says. "It was a nice place to be. My parents and most of the family where affected by that war and I understand them."
    - Anika3, CNN iReport producer

    Vukovar was heavily damaged during the Croatian War of Independence. Approximately 2,000 self-organised defenders (the army of Croatia was still in an embryonic stage at that time) defended the city for 87 days against approximately 36,000 JNA troops supplemented with 110 vehicles and tanks and dozens of planes. The city suffered heavy damage during the siege and was eventually overrun. It is estimated that 2,000 defenders of Vukovar and civilians were killed, 800 went missing and 22,000 civilians were killed or forced into exile.

    The damage to Vukovar during the siege has been called the worst in Europe since World War II, drawing comparisons with the World War II–era Stalingrad. The city’s water tower, riddled with bullet holes, was retained by city planners to serve as a testimony to the events of the early 1990s.

    On 18 November 2006 approximately 25,000 people from all over the country gathered in Vukovar for the 15th anniversary of the fall of the city to commemorate those who were killed during the siege. A museum dedicated to the siege was opened in the basement of a now rebuilt hospital that had been damaged during the battle. On 27 September 2007 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted two former Yugoslav Army officers and acquitted a third of involvement in the hospital massacre.

    As a result of the conflict, today the local Croat and Serb populations live separate lives side by side.

    Every year people gather on the street named by the Vukovar in the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb, and light candles along the street in memory of the people who gave life for Vukovar.

    Just two days ago, Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were released from courtroom in Den Haag after being plead not guilty for war crimes in homeland war (war operation in 1995 called "Storm" after which Croatia was free country). I'm so sad because I wasn't able to take photos when generals came (same day) to Croatia (I was working). Around 100,000 people gathered on the main square in Zagreb and celebrated. This was one of the most important moments in short Croatian history.
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