Thousands of people in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity gathered to protest against the decision of the High Representative of the international community in the country who suspended the RS Law on Immovable Property.
The protest, organised by the Veteran's Organization of Republika Srpska (BORS), is taking place in Banja Luka, the administrative centre of the Serb-majority entity.
The Bosnian Serb member of the country’s tripartite Presidency and leader of the ruling party in the RS, Milorad Dodik, as well as RS President, Zeljka Cvijanovic, joined the protest as well.
There is a heavy police presence at the event and snipers are securing it from the roofs of buildings in the area. Some of the protesters are carrying nationalist symbols.
The Law on Immovable Property of the RS was previously adopted by the National Assembly and was later signed by Cvijanovic.
Christian Schmidt, who is tasked with overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement in BiH, suspended the controversial law on April 12.
“I suspended the application of the Law until the assessment of the Constitutional Court in order to avoid negative legal reprisals for citizens and potential investors. Today, I am extending the ban on disposing of state property in order to harmonize it with the decisions of the Constitutional Court. This decision makes it clear that only the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina can dispose of state property or regulate property,” Schmidt said.
Dodik, who never accepted Schmidt’s authority as the highest-ranking official in BiH, stated that the High Representative’s decision will not be respected.
BORS said the protest was organised because of the attempts by international community officials to “create the constitutional and legal order for the Republika Srpska.”
N1’s team was threatened at the gathering, as persons told the team to “watch what they say” while reporting from the event. The threat was reported to the police.
After Dodik arrived, a group of people gathered around him and began singing a song that contained death threats targeting Schmidt. Dodik did not join in but smiled as the group sang the song: