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Bosnian Serbs march outside Sarajevo

The Bosnian Serb leadership showed strength with a paramilitary parade on the outskirts of Sarajevo. 2,000 paramilitaries, police and civil servants from the Republic of Serbia (RS) marched today in eastern Sarajevo in front of RS President Milorad Dodik and his guests. The parade was part of the RS Day celebrations. Several thousand Serbs lined up and waved the flags of RS and neighboring Serbia.

Serbian police officers at a parade

AP/Armin Durgut

Bosnia’s constitutional court declared the annual January 9 march unconstitutional. This year it was held for the first time in East Sarajevo, a small area in the extreme east of the Bosnian capital that belongs to RS. On January 9, 1992, convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic founded the Bosnian Serb Republic with support from the rest of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). In the war that followed (1992-1995), the Yugoslav and Bosnian Serb military committed genocide, massacres and expulsions of the Bosnian and Croatian population.

The US embassy in Sarajevo condemned Dodik’s march and policy of secession. “The Republic of Serbia will only destroy itself and those around it by chasing the will-o’-the-wisps of independence,” the embassy tweeted.