Members of the Organizing Committee of the BiH Pride march held a press conference Monday where they reiterated the sequence of events that led to their attack on March 18 in Banja Luka, but also to inform the public of the next steps, given that they announced that they will file criminal charges against the President of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, Milorad Dodik, and the Mayor of Banja Luka, Drasko Stanivukovic, for allegedly "inciting and giving the go-ahead to thugs". Pročitaj više
Mirza Halilcevic, a member of the Organizing Committee recalled the sequence of events from Banja Luka, where they did not plan for any walk but an indoor event – that is, a gathering in the private premises of Transparency International organization.
“We were supposed to meet at the premises of Transparency International (TI). It was a secret location. It was not a public gathering. It was literally supposed to be an informal meeting of our board members. The police knew the address. Around 18:20, the police took the Committee members out of the private area to a small plateau in front of the building and told them that they were not safe there, nor in their accommodations, and that we should go back where we came from. They told us to return to Sarajevo, which is symptomatic because a good number of colleagues are not from Sarajevo at all. Colleagues from Banja Luka asked a legitimate question – how will their safety be ensured? The police said that they cannot guarantee the safety of any of us at any location in the RS,” said Halilcevic.
This was followed by an attack by hooligans in which three people were injured.
“I repeat, the attack happened in full view of the police. The shouts chanted during the attack are also important, one of which is ‘you should be killed’,” Halilcevic added.
Criminal proceedings have been initiated and currently have the qualification of a ‘violent act’, but the Committee members will insist on the qualification of a ‘hate crime’.
After giving statements to the police, which lasted five or six hours, Halilcevic said, “they were literally evacuated from Banja Luka, including those who live in Banja Luka.” He claims that everything looked like a military operation.
Lejla Huremovic, another member of the Organizing Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina Pride March said they will Press Charges against RS President Milorad Dodik and Banja Luka Mayor Drasko Stanivukovic for allegedly inciting violence against them.
“We will file a second-degree appeal against the Decision of the RS Interior Ministry banning the event. We will initiate and demand an internal procedure within the police, so that the responsible police officers are sanctioned, because there are over 15 witnesses in front of Transparency International, who can testify that the police officer stated that ‘he cannot protect us’ and that he delivered us to the thugs. We will also engage the Human Rights Ombudsman in the case. We will initiate criminal charges against the RS President Milorad Dodik and the Mayor of Banja Luka ‘for inciting and giving the go-ahead to thugs’. We call on all institutions to approach this seriously,” Huremovic said.