POTOCARI – Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vucic has been chased out of a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre by a huge crowd throwing stones and bottles.
Vucic attended the commemoration service on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of crime in Srebrenica at the Potocari Memorial Center on Saturday.
The prime minister previously visited a photo exhibition dubbed Srebrenica-Potocari 1995-2015 at the Memorial Hall and signed the book of condolences in the presence of a large number of media.
“I hope that such a terrible crime will not happen again. Confident of a different, better future in relations between Serbs and Bosniaks, I express my deepest respect for all the victims and their families,” Vucic stated.
“Here in Srebrenica each one of us has to bow our head, not forget, and start building a different future,” he wrote in the book of condolences.
While the prime minister was entering the hall, a group of people who gathered there booed and protested, but the women, whose relatives were killed in Srebrenica, shook his hand, while one of them even hugged him.
Mothers of Srebrenica welcomed Vucic and had a conversation with him. Hatidze Mehmedovic put a flower on the prime minister’s lapel and said: “This is a symbol of suffering. We ask you on behalf of our youth to help Bosnia-Herzegovina become a functional country. We kindly ask you that in the name of these tombstones.”
But the crowd turned on Aleksandar Vucic, who was whisked away by bodyguards. The delegation were seen running for their cars and a Bosnian government source later said they had left the site.
The attackers shouted at the same time “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and “Die, Chetnik” (member of the Royal Yugoslav Army).
The police intervened and clashed with the crowd, and the Serbian prime minister and his delegation were evacuated from Potocari, Tanjug’s on-the-scene reporters said.
“What we expected and cautioned about has just happened,” Interior Minister of Republika Srpska Dragan Lukac told Tanjug.
He said that Vucic, his security and police officers received several blows, adding that the Serbian delegation was successfully evacuated towards Skelani, on the BiH border with Serbia.
Lukac stated that Slovenian President Borut Pahor suffered a similar attack, but was also protected by the police and safely escorted to the police station in Srebrenica.
“This is a scandalous attack and I can say it can be seen as an assassination attempt,” the Serbian interior minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic, said on Serbian Pink television. “Bosnia has failed to create even the minimal conditions for the safety of the prime minister.”