Dodik after protest in BiH's RS entity: We won't let them take away our property

NEWS 20.04.2022 19:38
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Source: F.Z./ N1

“Not a single word of hatred” could be heard at the massive protest in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, BiH Presidency member, Milorad Dodik, said only moments after witnessing a group of people singing a song containing death threats targeting the High Representative of the international community in BiH.

Thousands of people gathered in Banja Luka, the administrative centre of the Serb-majority RS entity, to protest against the decision of High Representative Christian Schmidt who suspended the RS Law on Immovable Property.

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According to the Veteran's Organization of Republika Srpska (BORS), which organised the gathering, nearly 18,000 people were present.

Some of the participants carried nationalist symbols. One of them flashed a banner displaying Ratko Mladic, who was sentenced to life in prison by an international court for war crimes, including the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide. The banner was, however, quickly put away.

The Law on Immovable Property of the RS was previously adopted by the National Assembly and was later signed by RS President, Zeljka Cvijanovic, who also attended the protest on Wednesday.

Schmidt, who is tasked with overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement in BiH, suspended the controversial law on April 12 until the BiH Constitutional Court hands down a ruling on the matter.

“This decision makes it clear that only the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina can dispose of state property or regulate property,” Schmidt said.

The BORS said the Wednesday protest was organised because of the attempts by international community officials to “create the constitutional and legal order for the Republika Srpska.”

After Dodik arrived, a group of people gathered around him and began singing a song that contained death threats targeting Schmidt.

Dodik, who never accepted Schmidt’s authority as the highest-ranking official in BiH, said at the gathering that the issue of the property has already been decided on in the Dayton Peace Agreement, arguing that “the territory of RS makes 49 percent of BiH and everything that belongs to BiH is explicitly provided by the Constitution.”

“Nobody can object to this, the fact that BORS organized such a magnificent gathering, and I supported it together with my associates,” Dodik said.

“This is not up for discussion. This is a clear message from the people, the property belongs to RS and it will remain that way,” he said, adding that no “foreign interventions” or “false representatives” will change that.

He then praised the organisers of the protest.

“I think this is magnificent. I am really proud of the people who organised this, without a single word of hatred, without a single provocation,” Dodik said.

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