Croatia backs treaty on women despite right-wing protests

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Croatian lawmakers have approved an international treaty on women's rights despite fierce opposition and protests from right-wing groups and the Catholic Church.

The parliament on Friday voted 110-30 to back the Istanbul Convention, which also has caused divisions within the ruling conservative Croatian Democratic Union party.

Opponents in the staunchly Catholic country have argued that the treaty indirectly legalizes gay marriage and gives rights to transgender people.

Thousands of far-right supporters protested the convention on Thursday in the Adriatic town of Split. Some of them chanted a World War II battle slogan used by Croatia's pro-Nazi regime at the time.

Convention backers separately commemorated women killed in domestic violence.

The document was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011 in a bid to fight violence against women throughout Europe.