The Head of the Croatian National Assembly (HNS), the umbrella organisation of Croat parties in Bosnia, condemned what he described as “warmongering messages” and “calls for violence” at the recent protests in Sarajevo.
Dragan Covic, who is also the leader of the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), met on Thursday with veterans associations of the wartime Croatian Defence Council (HVO), his party said in a statement.
It said that the protests which took place in front of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in BiH were organised by “Bosniak political parties”.
The protests in front of the OHR earlier this week took place after N1 reported that the international official overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, Christian Schmidt, was planning to use his Bonn Powers to impose extensive electoral reform in the country.
The draft contained changes to the Election Law that were welcomed by Bosnian Croat political parties, most notably the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH).
However, in Sarajevo, thousands took to the streets on Monday demanding that he gives up on the decision, which protesters said would deepen ethnic and territorial divisions in BiH.
On Wednesday, Schmidt decided to impose only a set of technical changes to the BiH Election Law concerning the integrity of the electoral process in the country.
The Bosnian Croat veterans who met with Covic argued that the OHR “succumbed to harassment, pressure and threats” and imposed a ‘compromise solution’ that is detrimental to Croats in BiH.
“An unprecedented amount of hatred, calls to violence and war rhetoric endangers the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for which the Bosniaks, the most numerous of the constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are responsible,” the statement said.
It said that Bosnia’s Croats will not exercise their rights on the “street”.
“We do not support protests. We want to seek solutions for the problems of the Croat people in our BiH, the homeland of three constitutionally equal and constituent groups, through democratic means and dialogue,” it said.