Bosnia Struggles to Contain Sectarianism, Reform Government

Bosnia Struggles to Contain Sectarianism, Reform Government

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Although it has received much less attention than the violence in Belgrade following Kosovo's declaration of independence last month, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia's neighbor to the west, has also seen violence in the wake of the Kosovo declaration. In recent weeks, up to 10,000 protestors in the Bosnian city of Banja Luka, the de facto capital of the majority-Serb Bosnian province of Republika Srpska, have stormed the streets and attacked the U.S. Consulate and other foreign diplomatic missions. The Banja Luka rioters demand that Republika Srpska (RS) be allowed to secede.

Observers insist that the Banja Luka protestors are in the minority, even among Serbs.

"They are just bored teenagers that have nothing better to do. They act like 'hooligans' after a football match, and the sad part is that most of them have never even set foot in Kosovo," said Zoran Micic of the demonstrators. Micic is an NGO aid worker living in Banja Luka who took considerable personal risks aiding Muslim and Croat friends during the war in the early 1990's.

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