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Around 200 people light candles to mark Srebrenica massacre in Belgrade

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Updated: 08:22 GMT, Jul 11, 2015 | Published: 03:52 GMT, Jul 11, 2015 |
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Around 200 citizens from the Serbian capital Belgrade lit candles on Friday (July 10) on the pavement near the official buildings of the Serbian president under tight security on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacres. Police were out in force after the country’s interior ministry banned all public gatherings for Saturday’s (July 11) anniversary of the massacres; citing security risks after rival rallies by right wing groups marking the date were announced. Originally, demonstrators had been planning to mark anniversary in front of the Serbian parliament building, with an action called “Seven thousand” on Saturday (July 11), where symbolically 7,000 people would have gathered and lay down on a pavement in front of the building to represent the victims.

“Still, there are some people in Belgrade who really want to pay respects to the victim from the Srebrenica genocide and despite the fact that our gathering in front of the parliament as we planned, is banned, we gathered here,” Aneta Mitic, one of the protest organizers, said. Some said they believed the ban was a political decision.

“Once again, it has been confirmed that there is no freedom of gathering in this country, once again the constitution and laws have been broken, it was supposed to be a peaceful rally, we just wanted to pay respects to the victims, so such things never happen again anywhere in the world,” Marko Zivkovic said.

Serbian Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic travels to Srebrenica on Saturday (July 11) despite the security risk. “Shame, shame he (referring to Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic) is going to Potocare, but we cannot be in front of parliament tomorrow,” Jelena Milic said, crying. Just a hundred meters away, members of the extreme right Serbian radical party, and their leader Vojislav Seselj, who, because of ill health, has been temporarily released from The Hague, were singing and chanting ultra-nationalistic songs and carrying serb nationalistic flags.