View Full Version : Bosnian anti-war group protests outside U.S. embassy

Feb 15th, 2003, 03:50 PM
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Mindful of the ravages of war, up to 500 protesters demonstrated peacefully Friday in Bosnia's shell-scarred capital against a possible conflict on Iraq.

Carrying banners reading "Disarm U.S.A!" "OILympic Games!" and others, the protesters gathered in downtown Sarajevo and marched in the frigid winter air to the U.S. Embassy, where they stood quietly for half an hour as dozens of police officers stood by.

"This is a peaceful demonstration against war and violence in general," said Fedja Stukan, 28, a local actor who organized the march, adding that no political groups or organizations were involved.

"This is not a protest against Bush or Saddam, but anti-war, anti-fascist demonstrations of Bosnians who want to say `no' to war which they themselves have experienced," Stukan said.

Senad Pecanin, the editor-in-chief of the local independent news magazine Dani, carried a banner that read "For Bush or for Saddam? Neither for one or the other!"

"We want to say that any war means destruction and all the people here know how many innocent civilians may die," Pecanin said, referring to Bosnia's 1992-95 war between the country's Muslims, Croats and Serbs which killed more than 200,000 people mostly civilians.

The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo issued a statement that praised the peacefulness of the demonstrators.

"The peaceful expression of opinion is indeed a cornerstone of democratic freedom," the statement said, adding it was up to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to disarm if a war is to be avoided.

The protest came a day before scheduled anti-war rallies all around the world.