The opposition in Bosnia's Serb-majority Republika Srpska entity organised a protest against the SNSD-led ruling coalition on Saturday in the region's largest city and its administrative centre, Banja Luka, stating that the time has come to “set Republika Srpska free.”
“It is either them or us. Let's unite to beat the primitivism, arrogance, let's go towards the victory, freedom will come in a year,” the leader of the opposition PDP party Branislav Borenovic told the crowd of several thousand citizens, who gathered at the central Krajina square.
The leaders of other opposition parties conveyed the same messages.
— Snezana Mitrovic (@Snejkicaa) October 2, 2021
The protests were among other reasons prompted by the latest ‘Oxygen’ affair, concerning alleged corrupt activities with the oxygen supply for public healthcare institutions which the opposition addressed in a criminal complaint against the Republika Srpska leadership.
They also said the protest was aimed against the suppression of media freedoms in the region.
“Let's win against the regime, against the tyranny and show finally that this can be a normal and free country,” said Borenovic, adding that the “non-people regime” will be expelled in one year's time.
The protesters were seen carrying banners with the image of Milorad Dodik, the leader of the ruling SNSD party, and the message “never again.”
About the same time when the opposition gathered in Banja Luka, the ruling SNSD organised a protest in Bijeljina, the northeastern town and the second-largest in the region.
Vladimir Lazic, the chairman of the SNSD Bijeljina board, told the crowd of a few hundred citizens, that “Bijeljina can do better.”
The number of citizens that appeared in the protest, he stressed, proves that the people do care.
Milenko Mitrovic, the leader of the Movement for Bijeljina, said they gathered there to tell mayor Ljubisa Petrovic, who was nominated by the opposition SDS party, that he “has no right to make mistakes.”
“He has two choices – to start working and make our people satisfied or to resign and go back to the profession he was educated for,” Mitrovic said.
According to N1's reporter in Banja Luka, the Republika Srpska Ministry of Interior did not specify how many officers were securing the gathering in that city.