Bosnian Serbs celebrate day that kicked off devastating war

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — In a show of nationalist defiance, Bosnian Serbs celebrated a holiday on Wednesday that has been criticized as discriminatory by other ethnic groups in Bosnia.

Waving Serb flags, several thousand people lined up in the main Serb city of Banja Luka to watch a celebratory parade of security forces, firefighters and cultural and sports groups.

The Jan. 9 holiday marks the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting the country’s devastating four-year war that killed more than 100,000 people and left millions homeless.

The day is also an Orthodox Christian holiday. Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats have insisted that it doesn’t represent all ethnic groups who live in the Serb-run part of Bosnia called Republika Srpska.

Disagreements over the Serb holiday reflect ongoing ethnic divisions in Bosnia where nationalist politicians dominate the government long after the end of the 1992-95 war that erupted over a bid by nationalists to carve up the country along ethnic lines.
The Serb holiday was also banned in 2015 by Bosnia’s top court and Muslim and Croat representatives in the Bosnian Serb authorities boycotted its approval a year later. Muslim lawmakers have described Wednesday’s celebrations as “discriminating for all non-Serbs” and thus fueling political and other tensions.

During the war, Bosnian Serbs expelled Muslims and Croats almost completely from Republika Srpska territory. After the war, Republika Srpska became an autonomous region of Bosnia along with a Muslim-Croat entity also created in a U.S.-brokered peace deal.

“I am sure that Republika Srpska was preserved to this day by the love of our people, and the strength of our institutions,” Bosnian Serb President Zeljka Cvijanovic said. “I know that in the future, that same love and that same strength will keep the Republika Srpska going.”

The Serb holiday was also banned in 2015 by Bosnia’s top court and Muslim and Croat representatives in the Bosnian Serb authorities boycotted its approval a year later. Muslim lawmakers have described Wednesday’s celebrations as “discriminating for all non-Serbs” and thus fueling political and other tensions.

During the war, Bosnian Serbs expelled Muslims and Croats almost completely from Republika Srpska territory. After the war, Republika Srpska became an autonomous region of Bosnia along with a Muslim-Croat entity also created in a U.S.-brokered peace deal.

“I am sure that Republika Srpska was preserved to this day by the love of our people, and the strength of our institutions,” Bosnian Serb President Zeljka Cvijanovic said. “I know that in the future, that same love and that same strength will keep the Republika Srpska going.”

 

 

SOURCE:

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/europe/top-stories/bosnian-serbs-celebrate-day-that-kicked-off-devastating-war/ar-BBS129B?ocid=spartanntp

 

 

 

 

 

 

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