Several members of 'Justice for David' group detained after Sunday protest

NEWS 31.12.2018 10:53

Police in Bosnia's Serb-majority part detained on Sunday several members of the ‘Justice for David’ group who, even after their rally officially ended, continued to protest and demand resignations of top officials over the controversial murder of David Dragicevic.

The protests over the unsolved murder of the 21-year-old man have been ongoing since his body was found in March and have grown into the longest and largest anti-government movement in Bosnia.

“The David Dragicevic murder case will not go cold,” the victim’s father Davor Dragicevic declared, explaining that he will not give up as he “is not the kind of man” whose child someone can kill and he would just sit and do nothing.

The months-long protests were initiated by him, as he believes that top police officials and prosecutors are covering up his son’s murder to protect the politically connected perpetrators.

On Sunday night police also removed for the second time an improvised monument citizen had erected for Dragicevic.

The gathering, which was heavily secured by riot police, took place despite the Tuesday scuffle that broke out between citizens and officers who detained the father and mother of late 21-year-old David Dragicevic, several of their supporters and a number of opposition leaders in the Bosnian Serb-dominated semi-autonomous half of the country, Republika Srpska (RS).

Officers also secured the main square while city authorities removed David’s monument which reappeared again a few days later.

The semi-autonomous region has never before faced such long and massive protests that are targeting the entity’s long-ruling leader Milorad Dodik and the Interior Minister Dragan Lukac.

On Sunday evening, Davor Dragicevic appealed to the Austrian Government to help provide video footage from the local branch of the Raiffeisen Bank which he claimed showed the movement of his son the night he disappeared in March this year.

David Dragicevic’s body was found in a local river in March and initially, police had said that he had taken drugs and had drowned in a nearby river. This explanation sparked public outrage and angered the young man’s father, Davor, who swore he would pursue justice no matter what.

His supporters established the ‘Justice for David’ group and began calling the square where they were gathering every day ‘David’s Square’.

The protesters on Sunday marched through the streets and pledged not to allow the city to hold a three-day New Years celebration unless the murder is solved and the Interior Minister resigns.

Popular singer Haris Dzinovic was supposed to perform Sunday evening at another square in the city but according to police, some protesters arrived at the scene and damaged some of the equipment.

The gatherings in Banja Luka have drawn sympathy from all over the region but when police used force to detain the ‘Justice for David’ group on Tuesday, protests erupted in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar, Zagreb, Belgrade, Novi Sad and Zrenjanin.