To the Beat of the Drum: Croatian Protests Get Noisy
Five years ago, four female activists in Croatia decided something was missing from the protests they took part in defence of fundamental human rights: noise.
Drum 'n' bijes, or Drum 'n' rage, was born, a collective that has since grown to 23-strong and has more than 70 performances behind it, bringing some much-needed noise to Croatian rallies, particularly Zagreb Pride, and 'giving a voice' to those who may not be so vocal.
The drum, said founding member Doria Jukic, "is a particular instrument that, on one hand, is terribly loud and on the other gives visibility and a way to stand out from the crowd. It gives a kind of strength."
"Four of us, who are kind of amateurs, came together and said, 'Noise is what's missing'."
Co-founder Petra Tomasic said that of 23 current members, only four are men. "It's not intentional," she told BIRN, "it just happened that way."
"We're really glad that the female voice is really heard here," she said. "A woman on the drums is not something that can be seen every day."
One of the men, Aleksandar Dolic, said he was proud to be part of a predominantly female collective. "It's a great pleasure to work with them," he told BIRN.
Petra Sasa Petrekovic, a female drummer who joined the collective this year, said the performances could be exhausting but were ultimately hugely satisfying.
"This Pride Parade it was a little bit hot," she said. "It's a little bit difficult because you walk for an hour and drum, but through that mass of people watching and walking the [positive] energy can be felt."
"In that moment we forget that our arms hurt and we are very happy because people recognise the sound and rhythm and everyone whistles with us."