By Danijel Kovacevic
Around 1,000 people gathered on Wednesday night in the Bosnian city of Banja Luka for a protest in solidarity with the leader of the ongoing ‘Justice for David’ rallies, Davor Dragicevic, after he was released from police custody.
A large crowd joined Davor Dragicevic, the father of a 21-year-old
man murdered in March, on Wednesday night for a protest walk and rally
in Banja Luka in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska,
passing by the locations where his son David is believed to have visited
on the night of his death.
During the walk, dubbed “David’s Path” and intended to avoid any potential conflict with police, Dragicevic stopped and lay down in the riverside spot where his son’s body was found.
The walk ended in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, after police had blocked entry to the central Krajina Square, with Dragicevic making a short address to the crowd and calling for another rally on Thursday evening.
A couple of hundred people also gathered in Sarajevo, Tuzla and Mostar on Wednesday night to support Dragicevic’s campaign.
Riot police were present at the Banja Luka event following a tense protest on Tuesday night after Dragicevic was taken into custody for failing to respond to a summons to a court hearing over charges of “endangering security” during a protest held in front of the parliament of RS on December 17.
Several opposition politicians who had come to support Dragicevic were also detained, including Drasko Stanivukovic, the youngest deputy in the RS parliament.
However, ralliers heeded Dragicevic’s warning ahead of the event not to make any incidents and provoke the police, who have been maintaining a heavy presence at the central square, where “Justice for David” protests have been taking place daily for the past nine months.
Dragicevic was released from police custody on Wednesday morning, and has vowed to continue the fight for justice for the death of his son, who was found dead in a shallow river in March.
Police say he drowned, but conflicting pathology reports and inconsistencies in police statements have fuelled anger over what many Bosnian Serbs see as police incompetence and indifference.
His parents say they believe their son was murdered and have alleged a cover-up, something that the authorities have vehemently denied.
Earlier on Wednesday, police also removed the improvised shrine set up in the main square and announced that they would not tolerate any more gatherings in the location, claiming all of those so far had been “illegal” as permission from authorities had not been sought.