International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Bosnia Presidency members congratulate VE Day saying the fight must continue

May 9, 2020

Bosnia's tripartite Presidency members congratulated the Victory in Europe Day, each in his own way, but with a joint message of the continued fight against fascism and evil in Bosnia and the world.

Presidency Chairman and Bosniak member Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat Presidency member Zeljko Komsic laid flowers at the Kovaci Memorial Centre in Sarajevo, marking the Day of the Golden Lilies – the day dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the Army of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RBiH) which coincides with the Victory in Europe Day – May 9.

Speaking at the memorial, Dzaferovic said that 75 years ago, the darkest ideology to have happened in the modern history of man suffered a devastating military defeat.

"I also want to congratulate the Victory in Europe Day because Bosnia wants to become a member of the EU, the foundations of which were laid five years after the end of the Second World War," said Dzaferovic.

He recalled that May 9 is celebrated as the Day of the Golden Lilies of the Army of RBiH, to which he also sent congratulations and said that Bosnian citizens should all be proud of that Army.

Dzaferovic pointed out that the Army fought for the true values of anti-fascism - freedom, democracy, equality and common life of all people living in Bosnia.

The two also laid wreaths at the Eternal Flame in Sarajevo, dedicated to all the WWII victims and partisans who fought the Axis powers.

On the occasion of the Day of Victory over Fascism in Europe as well as the Golden Lilies Day, Komsic congratulated this day to all free citizens of Europe, anti-fascists and winners of the Golden Lily award.

“As a citizen of Bosnia, a state founded on the principles of anti-fascism and a state that in its recent past faced the ghosts of fascism, I am proud of our past, because at least two generations of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, defending our homeland, also defended and the fundamental values of the civilized world. Anti-fascism is one of civilization's fundamental values. Bosnians and Herzegovinians have always known the difference between good and evil, humanity and inhumanity, how to oppose genocidal and fascist projects before the world adopted various declarations and conventions on genocide and its prevention, and I congratulate them on that,” Komsic said.

The Serb member of Bosnia's Presidency, Milorad Dodik, congratulated all Bosnian citizens on the Day of Victory over Fascism in the Second World War and Europe Day, emphasizing that May 9, 1945, is one of the most important dates in world's history because on that day the ideology of terror was defeated.

"Serbs should be proud of their anti-fascist past and the fact that, together with other righteous and libertarian peoples, we made a significant contribution to the fight against fascism and Nazism," Dodik said.

He stressed that World War II was a dark and tragic period in human history. which should be an eternal warning to everyone that such evil should never happen again, but also that we must never forget all the victims who fell for freedom, the Presidency said in their statement.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a432400/Bosnia-Presidency-members-congratulate-VE-Day-saying-the-fight-must-continue.html

Bosnia reports 24 new Covid-19 cases and six virus-related fatalities

May 9, 2020

Over the past 24 hours, Bosnian health authorities reported 24 new Covid-19 cases and six virus-related fatalities. The Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity reported 18 cases while the Bosniak-Croat shared Federation (FBiH) entity reported six new cases. All the fatalities were recorded in the RS entity.

After testing 668 samples, the RS health authorities confirmed 18 new infections, the entity Health Ministry said Saturday, adding that 11 are male while 7 are female.

They noted that all patients suffer from chronic diseases.

When it comes to the FBiH entity, the authorities there tested 514 samples of which 6 turned out positive.

They said that a total of 588 patients recovered from Covid-19 to date, in this entity.

Over the past 24 hours, the RS health authorities reported 6 virus-related fatalities. Four patients died at the Banja Luka Clinical Centre and two at the Doboj hospital. The patients range from the ages of 49 and 81.

The authorities added that they all suffered from chronic conditions.

According to Bosnia's Civil Affairs Ministry, a total of 2,090 cases of Covid-19 were recorded since the outbreak in Bosnia. Of that number, 102 people had died while 1,059 people had recovered.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a432402/Bosnia-reports-24-new-Covid-19-cases-and-six-virus-related-fatalities.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: Four more dead, 89 new cases of COVID-19 in Serbia

May 9, 2020

Over the past 24 hours, four more people died of coronavirus in Serbia, which increased the total number of victims to 213, new data from the Serbian Health Ministry showed on Saturday.

According to Covid19.rs portal, 5,728 people were tested, 89 of which came back positive.

A total of 10,032 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were registered in Serbia since the pandemic outbreak. Of that number, 1,437 patients were hospitalized.

The total number of citizens who recovered from the disease is 2,732.

So far, a total of 134,533 persons were tested for coronavirus in Serbia, the Ministry said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597709/Coronavirus-UPDATE-Four-more-dead-89-new-cases-of-COVID-19-in-Serbia.html

Another anti-regime group protests in Belgrade

May 9, 2020

The series of anti-government protests that are daily organised by different opposition parties, movements, groups and other citizens continue on Saturday with the ‘Light” organisation demanding the postponement of the June 21 general elections in Serbia, N1 reported.

The ‘Light’ leader, Srdjan Nogo, told the Beta news agency earlier that the elections “cannot be held,” but did not elaborate.

The protesters’ demand includes the “formation of a transitional government’ for six to 12 months, ‘to offer all political participants equal conditions” for the race, and media freedom'.

Other opposition political organisations request the same.

'Light' also asks for a list of voters from abroad, those with two citizenships to be available to the public.

 After a walk through Belgrade main streets, the gathering ended outside the state RTS TV building.

Source:   http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597785/Light-opposition-group-demands-delay-of-Serbia-s-general-elections.html

Serbia's diplomatic protest note to EU over Nikola Tesla

May 9, 2020

Serbia's Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic, told TV Pink that Serbia sent a diplomatic protest note to the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Maria Gabriel, on the occasion of the announcement on the European Union's website stating that Nikola Tesla was a Croat.

"I've repeated several times that if Nikola Tesla had lived in Yugoslavia (during the Second World War), he'd have ended up in the Jasenovac concentration camp," Dacic noted.

On Friday, Serbia's Culture and Information Minister Vladan Vukosavljevic also stated that he hoped that EU institutions would apologize to the Serbian public and that this "inappropriate mistake" would be corrected without delay.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597735/Serbia-s-diplomatic-protest-note-to-EU-over-Nikola-Tesla.html

North Macedonia pulls controversial postage stamp with Greater Croatia

May 9, 2020


The Post of North Macedonia announced that it immediately pulled the postage stamp with the "wrong map of the Republic of Croatia" and apologized for that "unintentional mistake."

On Saturday morning, N. Macedonian media published the information about the commemorative postage stamp through which N. Macedonia wanted to thank Croatia for its support to the country's European integration process. The media labelled the stamp as scandalous because it showed the image of St. Mark's Church and the stylized Croatian flag in the form of the Ustasha Independent State of Croatia's (NDH) Greater Croatia. In it, Bosnia and parts of Serbia and Montenegro would make up the Greater Croatia.

The Independent State of Croatia was a puppet state of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy during World War II. It was formed in parts of occupied Yugoslavia in 1941, after the invasion by the Axis powers. Its territory was made up of most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia, parts of modern-day Serbia and Slovenia.

The N. Macedonian Post Office said in their statement that they "apologize for an unintentional mistake and technical omission in publishing a commemorative postage stamp from the series 'North Macedonia in the EU', which aims to mark Croatia's presidency of the Union."

"The wrong map of the Republic of Croatia and other countries in the region was placed on that postage stamp, and because of that, the entire circulation of 6,000 stamps is immediately withdrawn from use," the N. Macedonian postal company pointed out.

They added that they regretted the unintentional mistake, especially that the issuance of the series of the postal stamp coincided with May 9 - Europe Day, noting that the goal was to express gratitude to the Croatian EU presidency and for Croatia's support to North Macedonia.

Serbia sent a note of protest to North Macedonia because of this postage stamp, and its Foreign Ministry demanded that the stamp be withdrawn and that North Macedonia apologizes.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597763/Northern-Macedonia-pulls-controversial-postage-stamp-with-Greater-Croatia.html

Serbia sends protest note to North Macedonia over controversial postage stamp

May 9, 2020

Serbia's Foreign Ministry submitted a diplomatic protest note to North Macedonian Embassy in Serbia over the printing and publication of a postage stamp by the Macedonian Post Office showing the geographical map of the fascist statelet of Independent State of Croatia (NDH) whose mention, the Ministry said on Saturday, evokes memories among Serbs and Serbian residents of the darkest period in world's modern history.

The Foreign Ministry requested that the disputed postage stamp be immediately withdrawn from circulation and that its printing and publication be condemned by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, the statement said.

The protest note states that Serbia's Foreign Ministry expresses its strongest protest against the printing and publication of the postage stamp with a geographical map of the fascist Independent State of Croatia, which includes parts of the Republic of Serbia all the way to Belgrade, parts of Montenegro and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Such attempts at historical revisionism grossly disrupt bilateral relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia, as well as cooperation and stability of the entire region,” the protest note reads.

It adds that the publication of the stamp is perceived as a hostile provocation directed against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia, as well as an insult to the entire Serbian people, who "died in hundreds of thousands during the Second World War" in NDH's concentration camps.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597749/Serbia-sends-protest-note-to-North-Macedonia-over-controversial-postage-stamp.html

N. Macedonia issues postage stamp showing Bosnia, Serbia as part of Croatia

May 9, 2020

Wishing to thank Croatia for their support to North Macedonia's EU accession process, the authorities in this Western Balkan country issued a postage stamp showing Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the Greater Croatia from the time of the fascist statelet – Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

The postage stamp from the “North Macedonia in the EU” series was issued on the occasion of the Victory in Europe Day and apart from showing the St. Mark's square and the stylized Croatian flag in the borders of the Greater Croatia, it evidently shows Bosnia and Herzegovina within those borders.

North Macedonia-based MKD news portal was first to spot the mistake, saying that the designers, editors and the director of the North Macedonian Post Office obviously had no idea about Croatia's geography and history.

The portal continued saying that the Post Office obviously thought that the EU member state, Croatia, today covers the areas of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina and parts of Serbia and Montenegro. As was the idea of Greater Croatia.

They pointed out that the stamp was published on the Post's website, and it will probably be promoted on Sunday, provided that no note arrives from the Croatian embassy in Skopje.

"And then we will wait for a statement of responsibility for this scandalous move by the said state institution," MKD wrote.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597693/N.-Macedonia-issues-postage-stamp-showing-Bosnia-Serbia-as-part-of-Croatia.html

Dveri MPs pounce on Serbia’s ministers, regime's MPs; Speaker: Hitler's method

May 8, 2020

Opposition nationalist Dveri movement MPs who protested outside Serbia’s Parliament main entrance, attacked the ministers and the ruling coalition parties’ MPs, and its leader Bosko Obradovic told Health Minister, Zlatibor Loncar he would “go to jail,” N1 reported.

Dveri MPs tried to prevent the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) deputies from entering the Parliament building.

During the quarrel, Marijan Risticevic, a ruling Serbian Progressive Party’s MP, had his jacket torn apart.

Later the Speaker Maja Gojkovic told reporters that Risticevc was pushed and beaten, adding drops of blood could be seen on his mask and that he went for a medical check-up after which he would address media.

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s President, said that “Fascist phalanx from (the opposition umbrella group) Alliance for Serbia attacked MPs, knocked them to the ground, torn their jackets apart…” Vucic asked the people to condemn most severely “this fascist rampage and show that Serbia is a democratic country.”

 She said that “(Adolf) Hitler entered into those protesting outside,” describing the incident as fascist.

“If I cannot explain to you and every Serbia’s citizen what are we are protesting against, I can’t explain it at all. Someone has been violating the Constitution for eight years, destroying all state institutions, manipulating, humiliating and insulting these people and this state..,” Obradovic said.

He added that they “grabbed our life, freedom, finances and institutions, demolished everything normal in this country. We protest because we won’t put up with that anymore.”The Parliament security reacted, but Obradovic said there was no physical violence.

Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also condemned the incident outside the Parliament building. "Obradovic is only an SzS exponent, and what we saw today was fascism, a brutal physical showdown with political opponents. Violence in Serbia won't prevail, fascism in Serbia never had fertile soil in Serbia."

 Dveri MP Marija Janjusevic said that she was insulted by Milovan Drecun an SNS MP, “when people could not hear him.” She said she could not say what he said since “I’m a decent woman.”

Before the end of the protest, Obradovic called on all opposition MPs to join him in the protest. No one did.

He also announced a street protest for Saturday at 7 pm, calling on all people to join in.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597281/Opposition-movement-attack-Serbia-s-ministers-regime-s-MPS.html

Interior Minister: Police detain 15 people for attacking Serbia’s MPs

May 8, 2020

Nebojsa Stefanovic, Serbia’s Interior Minister, said on Friday that police had detained 15 people who took part in the incident outside the country’ Parliament when the opposition nationalist Dveri Movement MPs tried to prevent the ruling coalition’s deputies from entering the building, N1 reported.

"These people will immediately go before the misdemeanour courts which will punish them in line with the law,” the Minister said in a statement.

He described the eventas “pure fascist attack by (Dveri leader) Bosko Obradovic and some (opposition) Alliance for Serbia supporter on MPs and others who wanted to enter the National Assembly,” Stefanovic said.

The leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and convicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj called for Minister's dismissal because the police did not react during the incident. 

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597337/Serbia-s-police-detain-15-people-after-incident-outside-Parliament.html


I won't run for SNS head again, perhaps not for head of state either, Vucic says

May 8, 2020

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic reiterated late on Thursday he would stand down as the head of his ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) this year and hoped he would not run for the second presidential term in 2022, the news agencies reported.

Speaking to the Belgrade Happy TV, Vucic said the corona pandemic postponed some decisions, including the choice of his successor at the SNS helm.

"We will finish that this year," he said about his withdrawal from the post of the head of his party which had announced earlier.

"Presidential elections are in a year and a half. We will come out with our candidate, and I believe I'll take part in choosing one who can win. I hope I won't be that candidate and that we will find a better one," Vucic said.

He was elected president on May 31, 2017, for the first five-year mandate. The Constitution allows him to run for the second consecutive term.

That is not the first time that Vucic says he won't run for office. In November 2016, he told the Zagreb Globus weekly he would not be a candidate for Serbia's President.

In 2008, he announced the withdrawal from the post of the Secretary-General of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and politics in general for an unspecified period following clashes within SRS highest ranks.

Soon afterwards, he and some other SRS members formed the Serbian Progressive Party.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597229/Vucic-again-announces-he-won-t-lead-his-party-and-perhaps-won-t-run-for-president-in-2022.html

Noise Against Dictatorship continues across Serbia

May 8, 2020

The Noise Against Dictatorship protest continued across Serbia for a 13th night on Friday.

Serbians shared videos of their local protests on social networks, most of them from central areas of Belgrade and the southern city of Nis. Protester played loud music, blew whistles and banged pots and pans to express their dissatisfaction with the way the authorities handled the coronavirus pandemic during the state of emergency.  

The noise protest is preceded every evening by an ovation for doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597549/Noise-Against-Dictatorship-continues-across-Serbia.html

Fajon, Bilcik call for reduction of tensions in Serbia

May 8, 2020

European Parliament members Tanja Fajon and Vladimir Bilcik called for a lowering of tensions between parties and the media in Serbia and the country’s return to pro-European policies.

In a reaction to recent incidents, including a violent event in front of the Serbian Parliament and the announcement of elections on 21 June, the MEPs said that the role of the media is more important than ever. “Due to the consequences of the COVID-19 that will lead to restrictions on the normal conditions for carrying out the electoral campaign, the role of media is more important than ever. In this regard, a step-change in addressing the area of media and the role and regulation of the public broadcasters is crucial for a successful electoral process,” the statement said and expressed concern about the polarization of the media, their use for political and personal attacks and an escalation of tensions.

“Let us be clear, it is the responsibility of all politicians to avoid inflammatory language, to counter hate-speech, to avoid aggravating social divisions by respecting political opponents, and not to mislead the public with disinformation in the media before, during and after the electoral campaign,” they said.

“We call on politicians in public and through the media to de-escalate tensions and re-focus on putting forward policy agendas that are pro-European and in the spirit of democratic society and that promotes development of the country and prosperity of the Serbian people. We call on the media to report objectively and professionally in the interest of the citizens.

“We call on all political forces and citizens to engage in the electoral process as to ensure the widest possible representation and promotion of different ideas and contributions which reinforce pluralism and strengthen democracy. As the country emerges from the extraordinary COVID-19 lock-down, it is more important than ever that all political forces and citizens have full confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. Nobody should be exposed to any unnecessary risks when performing their political campaigns and in casting their votes,” they added.

“We continue to monitor closely the conditions for holding parliamentary elections and expect the authorities to fully implement all of the commitments made in the three rounds of the Inter-Party Dialogue,” the statement said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597531/Fajon-Bilcik-call-for-reduction-of-tensions-in-Serbia.html

Vucic: Protests brought out worst in Serbian society

May 8, 2020              

President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday that “today is the day for all the worst in our society”, alluding to the incident and protest in front of the Serbian parliament.

Opposition Dveri leader Bosko Obradovic MP and his supporters engaged in a war of words with Health Care Minister Zlatibor Loncar and several ruling coalition MPs on the steps of parliament, drawing condemnation from Speaker Maja Gojkovic and members of the government. Later in the day, former Dveri MP Srdjan Nogo led several hundred people from Republic Square to the steps of parliament and on to the Presidency building in an anti-regime protest which included nationalist and anti-migrant slogans.  

Vucic told the pro-government Prva TV that those gathering were not registered with the police, adding that participants were in violation of the recommendations of medical experts. “The goal of the state is to show that we will not be frightened by the people who think they can use fascist methods to topple the state,” he said.  

He said that the state continues to invest effort to preserve democratic values and try to create what he called an economic boom like the one in 2014.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597503/Vucic-Protests-brought-out-worst-in-Serbian-society.html

Nationalists in anti-government protest in central Belgrade

May 8, 2020

Nationalist supporters gathered in central Belgrade’s Republic Square on Friday, shouting slogans against both the authorities and opposition.

Several hundred people were addressed at the gathering only by its organizer, former Dveri MP Srdjan Nogo who said that politicians should sign statements to confirm what they advocate and to ensure that they don’t change their policies. He added that the protest was organized to demand the postponing of the elections scheduled for June 21 and the forming of a transitional government to secure equal conditions for the election campaign. Nogo called for the protest a day earlier, following the noise protest in front of the Serbian Presidency.  

The crowd of several hundred ended the gathering with a protest march from Republic Square to the Serbian Parliament, shouting anti-regime and anti-migrant slogans and singing nationalist songs. The crowd booed loudly in front of the parliament building, shouting offensive slogans and calling MPs to come out of the building before moving to in front of the Serbian Presidency building.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a597459/Nationalists-in-anti-government-protest-in-central-Belgrade.html

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