Tue, 23 Jul 2019

BELGRADE -- Dozens of Serbian ultranationalists staged a demonstration in Belgrade on March 24 to mark the 20th anniversary of NATO's intervention in what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- the beginning of a 78-day air campaign that ended Belgrade's crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Organized by the opposition Serbian Radical Party (SRS), the demonstrators on March 24 also condemned a final verdict four days earlier by an international court at The Hague that upheld Bosnian-Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic's genocide conviction and lengthened his sentence to life in prison.

SRS leader Vojislav Seselj set fire to NATO and European Union flags during the protest March 24 in central Belgrade.

'This is what we think about NATO and the European Union,' Seselj said as he held the burning flags.

The Serbian ultranationalists also marched in protest to President Aleksandar Vucic's office where they left two books by Seselj that claim the 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica was not an act of genocide.

Meanwhile, senior officials in Serbia's government were attending a remembrance ceremony for people who were killed during the 1999 NATO air campaign.

In Pristina, Kosovo's government on March 24 hailed the anniversary as the beginning of Kosovo's national liberation.

Officials in Pristina declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after nine years under a United Nations administration. Their declaration of independence is still not recognized by Belgrade.

With additional reporting by RFE/RL Balkan Service correspondents in Pristina RFE/RL's Balkan Service

RFE/RL's Balkan Service promotes the values of democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression in a region where genuine media freedom remains elusive and where many media outlets remain divided along ethnic lines.

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Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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