Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pro-Karadžić Meeting Violence

As everyone guessed, violent conflicts between Serbian police and football hooligans, thugs and children with nothing better to do have taken place during the pro Radaovan Karadžić rally in the centre of Belgrade. I've just watched a section of those present at the meeting in Republic Square (Trg republike) broke off and began throwing rocks, sticks, fireworks, homemade bomb-like devices. They also smashed a couple of shop windows on Makedonska street.


Honestly, half of those guys fighting the police looked 16 years old. They weren't even alive, or just had a few years, during the Yugoslav wars. What exactly do they identify with? What has it even got to do with them? I understand to some extent the older generation still believing Karadžić is a war hero - but these kids are just looking to cause trouble and in doing so completely cancel out the message the peaceful protesters want to make and the Radical Party of Serbia and their allies just loose even more credibility.

The centre now looks a complete mess. Hopefully, those caught by the police will face the full brunt of the law - they need to finally realise that they can't cause violence in the city centre whenever they feel like it.

I'll write more about the protests in a bit once more information becomes available.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Radicals Threatening President Tadic?

Serbian Radical Party Official Vjerica Radeta has apparently made death threats against Serbian President Boris Tadic. At a press conference on July 25 on the arrest of Hauge indictee Radovan Karadžić, Vjerica Radeta said that "betrayal never goes unpunished in Serbia," and told those present that Boris Tadić and his regime may suffer the same fate as previous Serbian 'traitors' such as Zoran Đinđic and the Obrenović dynasty. I, as well as many others, interpreted these remarks as threats. I am honestly amazed that a politician could say such things in public, I mean, come on, making direct, indirect or even just hinting at the death of a state president is not something that's done, is it? Well, clearly it is if you're a member of the Serbian Radical Party.

Vjerica Radeta went on to say that 'God punishes to the seventh generation' and called on the Serbian Orthodox Church to react as they have the right to banish people from the Church and cast anathemas. Wait a second, are we in the 18th century or the 21st?

In response to a question regarding the brutal attack on a B92 cameraman during one of the pro-Karadžić protests in Belgrade, Radeta claimed that the attacker was planted by the Tadić regime in order to cause provocation and said that she had not noticed any violence at any of these 'peaceful' protests - take a look at the video in a previous post to see just how peaceful these protests have actually been.

More recently, Serbian Radial Party Leader Tomislav Nikolić has slated Radio Televizija Srbije (RTS - the national broadcaster) for unbiased reporting of the Karadžić saga and said that if they do not appeal to the 50 percent of the Serbian population who support Karadžić they will disrupt the work of RTS with a reference to Bastille.

Honestly, how long can the Radicals continue to make such public threats, refuse to condemn acts of violence and think that we're still living in the past? Get with reality and stop acting as if Serbia's still in the 1990s.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Karadžić Arrest

During the night more details have emerged about the arrest of Radovan Karadžić. Apparently, he was arrested on Monday evening while he was travelling on one of the regular city buses in New Belgrade (Novi Beograd). It's not known how long he's been 'hiding' in Belgrade, but he had assumed a false identity under the name Dragan Dabić. He hasn't really been hiding at all, in the traditional sense, but has in fact been quite in the public view for sometime. Karadžić is now sporting a large white beard and is rather unrecognisable. To make a living for himself, he's been practicing alternative medicine at a practice in the capital, even giving several lectures in front of hundreds of people and even camera crews and regularly contributing to Healthy Life magazine. It's quite odd to think that perhaps I've walked past Radovan Karadžić in the city centre where it's said he often frequented to have coffee.

As expected, world leaders and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia officials have praised the arrest of one of the most wanted men in the world, whilst Serbian Radical Party officials have condemned the arrest, stating that 'it is a sad day for Serbia' and branding Serbian President Boris Tadić a 'traitor of the Serbian people'. The Radical Party have announced that they will be organising large protests over the coming days - a lovely invitation for Obraz thugs and other loutish nationalists to show up and cause some chaos.

Talking about chaos, we saw a small glimpse of what could be a regular occurrence over the next days in Belgrade today at Republic Square (Trg republike) in the very city centre. Several hundred people gathered, particularly young nationalist men, alongside a contingency of riot police. Squirmishes ensued with rudimentary exploding devices and fireworks being thrown all over the place. Here's a video of what took place at around 5pm today in Belgrade city centre:

Radovan Karadžić, a Bosnian Serb, is indicted by the Hague tribunal on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Bosnian War (1992-1996) including shelling during the siege of Sarajevo, during which some 12,000 died, and the notorious Srebrenica massacre in 1995, in which 8,000 Bosniak Muslim boys and men were killed. He is likely to be transferred later this week.

It will certainly be an interesting time in Serbia the next few weeks. Let's hope nothing gets out of hand too much.

Radovan Karadžić Arrested

It seems that Serbian war crimes fugitive Radovan Karadžić was arrested earlier tonight somewhere in Serbia. Didn't expect that on a mundane Monday night. The new pro-European government was formed very recently, and already we have one of the better known to the rest of the world fugitives arrested. Stojan Župljanin, another fugitive, was arrested in Belgrade in June.

Just two more to go - Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić.

However, what interests me more is the fallout from this arrest. He is seen by many in Serbia as a war hero. Will there be protests, both for and against? How will the press and government and party officials react. Let's wait until the morning.

Sleep well.

Subscribe to Balkan File