Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in protests across Europe and in the United States to demand an end to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s biggest political and security crisis since the 1990s, as Bosnian Serbs threaten to secede and fears grow about a slide towards renewed conflict.
Al Jazeera has reported that protests were held in 35 cities across 14 countries on Monday – including in Sarajevo, Podgorica, Rome, Brussels, London, New York, and Washington, DC – demanding the international community to act to stop the break-up of the country.
he protests, some of which gathered hundreds of people, were spurred by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik’s moves towards secession.
Last month, the parliament of Republika Srpska passed a series of laws enabling the entity to form its own parastatal institutions and its own army by May.
Many Bosnians are alarmed as the Bosnian Serb army committed war crimes against the non-Serb population during the war in Bosnia with the aim of achieving a Greater Serbia.
Dodik’s moves, which High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt said were “tantamount to secession”, violate the Dayton Peace Agreement signed in December 1995 that divided the country into two entities – a Serb-led Republika Srpska entity and a Bosniak-Croat dominated federation.
“The survivors of the 1992-1995 war, who were expelled or tortured by the Bosnian Serb army in the concentration camps as well as many survivors of the Srebrenica genocide are extremely upset,” Platform BIH, the umbrella group based in the Netherlands organising the protests, said in a statement on Monday.
“The secession of Republika Srpska would be a reward to the Serbs for ethnic cleansing and genocide against Bosniaks. Many fear the country is slipping back into divisions and conflicts.