Croatians protest stalled education reforms

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Zagreb (AFP)

More than 20,000 people protested Thursday in Croatia's capital Zagreb against stalled education reforms and the influence of Church-backed groups promoting conservative values in the school curriculum.

Protesters carried banners that read "Our Children's future is Crumbling" and "Education is Public Interest".

"We want a transparent, independent education reform based on democratic procedures," said one of the organisers Marijo Bajkusa.

Police said around 20,000 people gathered in central Zagreb.

The reform initiative was launched in 2015 by the then centre-left government with an expert group tasked with overhauling the curriculum.

But the team resigned last year citing political pressures, and the conservative government -- led by the HDZ party -- recently named members of conservative groups backed by the Catholic Church to the expert group.