Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said on Tuesday that he is prepared to “physically prevent” a celebration planned by the main Bosnian Croat party to mark the 24th anniversary of the Bosnian Croat takeover of three cities held during the war by the Bosnian Serbs.
The Croat Democratic Union (HDZ) called the event the “liberation” of the western towns of Drvar, Bosansko Grahovo and Glamoc, while the Serbs refer to it as an “occupation.”
“I will be there and ready to be among those who will physically prevent it from happening and for it to be marked in such a way,” the Bosnian Serb member of the tripartite Presidency said.
Djordje Radanovic, the head of the Committee for the Protection of Serbs in the Federation (FBiH), the semi-autonomous entity mostly inhabited by Bosniaks and Croats, complained about the announced celebration last week.
The event was announced by the HDZ in the Croat majority area of Livno, south of Drvar.
The day the HDZ wants to celebrate, September 13, was the day when Croat soldiers entered Drvar, which before the war had a 97 percent Serb population, Radanovic argued.
“So people who have nothing to do with Drvar want to celebrate the liberation of Drvar. We consider that an insult and we have agreed that we will oppose it using any means necessary,” he said.
He called upon all Serbs with roots in Drvar, Grahovo, Glamoc and Petrovac to help to block the roads and “physically prevent people from Livno coming into Drvar to have a celebration which would provoke the majority population.”
The dispute could weaken the alliance Dodik's Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and the HDZ have entered shortly before last October’s election.