Croat Veterans Protest Cyrillic Signs

ZAGREB — About 20,000 Croats, mostly war veterans, rallied on Sunday on the central square in the capital, Zagreb, to protest against a plan to introduce signs in the Cyrillic alphabet used by Serbs.

The Croatian and Serbian languages are mutually intelligible, but Croats use the Latin script while Serbs, like Russians, Ukrainians and Bulgarians, use Cyrillic script.

Some Croats see the Serbian script as a reminder of the suffering of the country during fighting against the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army and Serbian militias during the 1991-95 war of independence.

The Social Democrat-led government, which will take the country into the European Union on July 1, says it wants to respect the minority law and put up bilingual signs in areas where the population is more than one-third ethnic Serb.