New round of protest against Kosovo's independence

Other News Materials 21 February 2008 17:29 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Some 1,000 Bosnian Serb students in the Bosnian Serb-controlled eastern suburbs of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo Thursday organized peaceful protest against the independence of Kosovo.

Carrying Serb national flags, banners saying "Kosovo is Serbia" and a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the protesters walked from the university building through the streets of Eastern Sarajevo.

At the same time nearly 1,000 students gathered in Banja Luka for protests that were less peaceful than those in Eastern Sarajevo.

The protesters sung Serb patriotic songs and burned several flags of the European Union, the United States and Germany.

The special police troops of the Bosnian Serb entity, the Srpska Republic, stopped the protestors before they managed to achieve their original plan - to get closer to the US consulate in Banja Luka.

Earlier this week, on Monday, protesters in Banja Luka also tried to get closer to the US consulate there and later attacked the building shared by consulates of Germany and France in the city centre, throwing stones, eggs and potatoes.

Following Kosovo's independence, the Bosnian Serb National Assembly was to convene later Thursday in Banja Luka to present its official position on the issue.

Although no particular connection between Bosnian Serbs and the Kosovo issue exists, some Serb nationalist parties and non- governmental organizations have called on the Bosnian Serb authorities to demand independence of the Bosnian Serb entity, the Srpska Republic, from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik however said Srpska would react only if its status was questionable, not because of Kosovo.

The Bosnian Serb officials also said they would never allow their representatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina's joint institutions to vote for the recognition of independent Kosovo.