For the first time hundreds of people of different ethnic backgrounds have marched together in the northern Bosnian city of Prijedor.
The remembrance ceremony marked the day in 1992 when Serbs forced Muslim residents to wear white armbands to mark them out.
More than three thousand died in operations during the Yugoslav wars in what became known as ‘ethnic cleansing’. After Srebrenica, Prijedor suffered the second worst massacre during the conflict which led to the break up of Yugoslavia.
Amira Huskic who joined the gathering recalled the pain of the past:
“Everybody knows that we enjoyed no rights here, that we had been expelled from here. It is hard because I remember when we had to wear white armbands when we went outside so that everybody would know who we were. It is a bit easier now because we are free and I am not ashamed because I have to wear this.”
The gathering also acted as a protest against the Serb authorities running the town. They regularly ban commemorative events and continue to deny war crimes occurred there two decades ago.
Participants also condemned the Hague’s UN court ruling to acquit two former allies of late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic of setting up and arming notorious Serb paramilitary gangs.
In 2003, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had found high-ranking Bosnian Serb politician Milomir Stakić guilty of war crimes conducted by Serb authorities in Prijedor in 1992.
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