In Defiance To NATO And Bosnian Government , Serbs From Bosnia, Republika Srpska Celebrate Republika Srpska Day, Goodbye Bosnia And Herzegovina (VIDEO/PHOTOS)

 
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10 января
09:16

In Defiance To NATO And Bosnian Government , Serbs From Bosnia, Republika Srpska Celebrate Republika Srpska Day, Goodbye Bosnia And Herzegovina (VIDEO/PHOTOS)

(VIDEO) Celebrations in the Bosnian Serb entity Republika Srpska saw a ratcheting up of independence rhetoric as well as high-level spats over the participation of members of the country’s armed forces.

A thousand police officers were stationed to protect the Banja Luka parade, while RS officials hosted visits by allies such as French far-right party the National Front.

RS Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic received a delegation on Sunday evening including the head of the National Front parliamentary group in the European Parliament, Edouard Ferrand, and MEP Dominique Bilde, who tweeted their attendance at festivities on Monday morning.

Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, who was crown prince of Yugoslavia before its dissolution, was also in Banja Luka with his wife Katherine on Monday.

Serbian President Nikolic and several ministers from the Belgrade government were some of the other high-level attendees.

Although a law adopted by the RS National Assembly in December stipulates that January 9 is a secular holiday, religious overtones were present as a giant banner bearing the image St Stephen was unfurled in the eastern town of Foca and the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej arrived to deliver a liturgy in Banja Luka on Monday morning.

Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik used the occasion of the biggest-ever celebration of the Day of Republika Srpska, which went ahead on Monday in defiance of a ban by Bosnia's Constitutional Court, to demand greater autonomy for the entity.

The Republika Srpska leader suggested further that unless this were granted, the entity would not remain a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Speaking on Monday morning in RS’s administrative centre, Banja Luka, ahead of a grand parade and other festivities, Dodik said Serbs were primarily interested in a return to the original entity powers provided for by the Dayton Peace Agreement and that, if they were not given, nobody could make Republika Srpska remain part of the country.

Dodik said that Republika Srpska was “determined to live its life as a state”, and his party, the Alliance for Independent Social Democrats, published his comments on its website under the headline: “Restore the original competencies or goodbye Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Meanwhile a high-level dispute broke out after some Bosnian Army soldiers attended the celebrations despite warnings from state and international institutions that their attendance was illegal.

Alternate_Seal_of_the_Republika_Srpska (2)

Members of the Third Infantry Regiment of the Bosnian Army lined up around the main square in Banja Luka after the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, Mladen Ivanic, requested their presence as a military honour guard, flouting the warnings issued by the Bosnian Ministry of Defence and NATO.

Monday’s celebrations were arranged to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Republika Srpska entity in 1992 – an event which many Bosniaks see as the precursor to the outbreak of the war a few months later.

Because it is also a Serbian Orthodox religious holiday - the day of St Stephen, who is the patron saint of RS - Bosnia's Constitutional Court ruled in 2015 that holding the national day on January 9 was discriminatory against non-Serbs in the entity.

Despite the court ruling, and in spite of strong objections from Bosniak, US and EU officials, the RS authorities held a referendum on September 25 last year seeking public support for the Day of Republika Srpska. The referendum was also subsequently ruled illegal by the Constitutional Court.

The central public focus of Monday’s celebration was a Russian-style parade in which hundreds of police officers, firefighters, members of the Civil Protection force and even bikers proceeded down the main street of Banja Luka.

The parade took place to the song “March on the Drina”, a Serbian piece of music written in World War I which some Bosnians associate negatively with massacres of the 1990s since it was sung by ultranationalist Serb brigades during the 1992-95 war.

It was reported in RS media that the Bosnian Army members did not participate in the actual parade.

The lead-up to the day was also used by Dodik as an opportunity to further press home political points about Serb autonomy.

He spoke on Sunday evening to condemn the intervention of the Constitutional Court and international officials in Republika Srpska’s affairs, saying such interference was “a measure of the lack of freedom for us, and that is why we will decisively reject every attempt to impose quasi-decisions made in the Constitutional Court”.

Dodik also renewed threats to hold more referendums  telling RS media on Sunday evening that he wished to hold plebiscites annually to shore up the rights of RS citizens.

He remarked that Bosnia and Herzegovina was a country with no chance of success, and concluded that the solution was "peaceful separation", hinting at the dissolution of the country along entity lines.

Responding to questions about whether an independence referendum was on the agenda this year, he said it was not, but added the caveat “unless things don't hurry up”.

Dodik’s comments about Dayton refer to the transfer of certain powers away from the country’s two entities in the early-to-mid-2000s, such as the creation of the state-level Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina – as well as reforms to the Ministry of Security.

A thousand police officers were stationed to protect the Banja Luka parade, while RS officials hosted visits by allies such as French far-right party the National Front.

RS Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic received a delegation on Sunday evening including the head of the National Front parliamentary group in the European Parliament, Edouard Ferrand, and MEP Dominique Bilde, who tweeted their attendance at festivities on Monday morning.

Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, who was crown prince of Yugoslavia before its dissolution, was also in Banja Luka with his wife Katherine on Monday.

Serbian President Nikolic and several ministers from the Belgrade government were some of the other high-level attendees.

Although a law adopted by the RS National Assembly in December stipulates that January 9 is a secular holiday, religious overtones were present as a giant banner bearing the image St Stephen was unfurled in the eastern town of Foca and the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej arrived to deliver a liturgy in Banja Luka on Monday morning.

“It is my pleasure to participate in the big celebration of Republika Srpska,” said Patriarch Irinej the day beforehand, adding that the entity’s creation was “the work of God”.

https://youtu.be/7jol-lIZ1TQ

********************* MORE NEWS ON REPUBLIKA SRPSKA DAY ! ********************************

Bosnian Serbs are celebrating Republika Srpska Day in defiance of the constitutional court and the international community. The January 9 holiday commemorates the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia.

Bosnian Serb police officers, firefighters and folklore groups paraded through the streets of Banja Luka, the capital of the Serb-run part of the BiH.

Serb leaders participated in religious ceremonies in the city’s main church. That was broadcast live on local television, along with interviews with Bosnian Serb war-time military and political leaders.

Republika Srpska Day was banned last year by Bosnia’s top court. It ruled that the date, which falls on a Serb Christian Orthodox religious holiday, discriminated against the country’s other ethnic groups.

The continued celebration was repeatedly condemned by the top European Union and the U.S diplomats in Bosnia who urged Bosnian Serbs to stop defying the country’s top court.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, who is attending the Republika Srpska Day celebrations in Banjaluka on Monday, said he respected Bosnia and Herzegovina and wanted it to make progress.

Its progress is inconceivable without progress of RS, which, in turn, cannot make good progress without progress in BiH as a whole, he said.

Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik said Monday the RS was primarily interested in its original powers, envisioned by the Dayton Agreement, being restored, and that no one would keep it within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) if this proved to be impossible.

“Since those powers have been abolished by decisions of high representatives and outside the Dayton Agreement, which has also been violated by decisions of foreign judges, Srpska is resolved to affirm its original Dayton powers,” Dodik told reporters in Banjaluka.

 

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