Defying a police ban, thousands of citizens of Banja Luka gathered again on Wednesday evening in support of the quest of Davor Dragicevic and his family for the truth about the murder of their son and their demand for justice.
TV stations throughout the country broadcasted the protest live and citizens of Sarajevo, Mostar and Tuzla gathered simultaneously in support of the family and the anti-government protests in Banja Luka.
After Tuesday’s turmoil during which police in Republika Srpska (RS), the Serb-majoritysemi autonomous entity within the country, used force when they detained Dragicevic, his supporters and a number of opposition leaders, several thousand people first gathered at the bank of a river where in March the body of 21-year-old David Dragicevic was found.
Davor Dragicevic, the victim’s father, laid down at the spot where his son’s body was laying and described the scene he found there in March.
“I’m laying here and thinking how long he was alive. Why did they remove the concrete pols to place him in the sewer?” he asked.
He told reporters he wants “all to see how institutions are dealing with a father whose child was killed.”
He also addressed the crowd, asking his supporters to show “peace and dignity.”
“That is what hurts them the most. Anyone who instigates any kind of incident is not a member of this group,” he said, adding that he never threatened anybody and that he is “a father who is screaming for the murderers of my son to be brought to justice.”
He said that peaceful gatherings will continue to take place at the Krajina Square, as they did for the past 276 days, ignoring the police ban.
Holding their fist up, the crowd headed toward the main Krajina square where riot police had already lined up and blocked all streets leading to the square.
After a short walk through the city, the protesters dispersed.
Meanwhile, citizens in Sarajevo gathered in front of the National Museum in the centre to express support for ‘Justice for David’.
Sarajevans also gathered the day before, blocking traffic at a busy intersection in the centre, while some protested in front of the Office of the High Representative (OHR), the institution which is overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the war and includes Bosnia’s Constitution.
Former High Representative in the country, Austrian diplomat Wolfgang Petritsch, also commented on the events in Banja Luka from Vienna.
“This is about human rights, Republika Srpska is more and more turning into a police state,” he said and added that he is glad that citizens are “not letting their basic human rights, and the right to know what happened with David Dragicevic, be taken away.”
“Bosnian Serbs in Vienna are ashamed of the government’s behaviour toward citizens and how the Dragicevic family is being treated,” he added.
More than a hundred citizens of Tuzla gathered as well to support Dragicevic, as did dozens the city of Mostar.