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Updated: May 31, 2011 19:47 IST

Thousands protest Mladic’s arrest: Bosnia

AP
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A Bosnian Serb man chants slogans in front of a large photo of Ratko Mladic during a protest to support Gen. Ratko Mladic, in Banja Luka, 240 km. northwest from Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Tuesday. Photo: AP.
A Bosnian Serb man chants slogans in front of a large photo of Ratko Mladic during a protest to support Gen. Ratko Mladic, in Banja Luka, 240 km. northwest from Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Tuesday. Photo: AP.

The Serb protesters regard the former Bosnian Serb commander as an officer who defended them against Muslims and prevented what they regarded as the spread of Islam over their region.

About 10,000 people held a peaceful protest on Tuesday against the arrest of Gen. Ratko Mladic, calling Serbia’s president a traitor for ordering it.

Many of the demonstrators travelled by bus to Banja Luka, the administrative capital of the Serb—dominated region of Bosnia, to take part in the protest.

Mladic was arrested last week in Serbia after 16 years on the run, and he will be extradited to a U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, to face charges for some of the worst atrocities of the 1992—95 Bosnia war, including the Srebrenica massacre that left some 8,000 Muslim men and boys dead.

The Serb protesters regard the former Bosnian Serb commander as an officer who defended them against Muslims and prevented what they regarded as the spread of Islam over their region.

The demonstrators chanted Mladic’s name and carried his picture alongside those of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, whom they regard as allies in their struggle.

“We love our general, Ratko Mladic, and we love freedom. We came here to support our hero,” said Vojo Gusic, from the southeast town of Nevesinje.

Other, smaller pro—Mladic protests have been held every day since his arrest in Serbia.

The protesters also criticized Serbian President Boris Tadic for ordering Mladic’s arrest, branding the leader as a “traitor” for doing so. “Boris, kill yourself and save Serbia!” the demonstrators chanted.

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