Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said on Monday that a referendum on Croatia's admission to the European Union must be separated from parliamentary elections, as it is possible that voters would connect their participation in the referendum with a political option, which needs to be avoided.
"The referendum is of national interest and it should be separated from daily political and election activities," Josipovic told reporters in his office.
"Peaceful protests cannot hinder our European objectives nor is that a plan of citizens who area clearly massively expressing their dissatisfaction," Josipovic said.
It is legitimate to protest even against the European Union, and those protest will not affect Croatia's EU membership, as peaceful protests are part of the European democratic tradition, he added.
Josipovic said that people from various political groups participated in protests, saying that in his opinion the most numerous were those who have hard time to make ends meet and wish to change that.
"It is important that protests are peaceful," Josipovic said.