Student ‘murder’ rocks Republika Srpska
The alleged murder of Bosnian-Serb technology student David Dragicevic, whose corpse was found in March, continues to incite anger in the micro-state.
Riot police dispersed crowds demanding the resignation of the enclave’s interior minister, Dragan Lukac, over Dragicevic’s death. Several arrests have been made in the entity’s main town, Banja Luka.
Thousands of protesters at the weekend accused Lukac and the police of covering up the truth behind the 21-year-old’s death.
The rally forced a concert by a regional folk singer to be cancelled.
Dragicevic was found dead in a Banja Luka river, after going missing six days earlier and father Davor‘s quest to find the truth has developed into a wider anti-corruption movement. Smaller protests in solidarity also took place in Croatia and Serbia last week.
“I’m not going away. There’s no turning back,” Dragicevic told the protest. “I will stand here for as long as it takes.”
The police claimed the student committed suicide but then said he might have been killed. No evidence of murder had been found, the prosecutors claimed.
His father claims the student was abducted, tortured and murdered. He has accused the police of involvement.
The months without any resolution has led to suspicions about the investigation.
The protests around the case have also tapped into Serb discontent over widespread corruption and Bosnia’s feeble economy.
“If some ordinary guy killed my child, he would have been arrested a long time ago. It has to be someone very powerful,” said mother Suzana Radanovic.
She said the family’s story was real and the people needed to force the authorities to reveal what really happened.
“What we are saying about the police is not a fairy tale,” she told the protesters.
“That’s just the reality. You have to accept that we are not crazy and we aren’t talking nonsense,” she told the media.
Protesters booed outside government buildings and chanted “We are with you, Davor.”
The protesters at a shrine to the student in the town square on Sunday chanted: “Resignation”, “Lukac the killer” and “Justice for David”.
Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian-Serb leader, said there was no evidence of police involvement in the death and that protesters were being manipulated by the political opposition.
“The street will not model political decisions in Republika Srpska [the Bosnian-Serb region],” Dodik said.
Police said Dragicevic was involved in a fight at a cafe and that they found alcohol and drugs in his blood. The case was officially called a drowning and originally ruled a suicide.
Banja Luka. Picture credit: Wikimedia