ZAGREB, December 28, 2018 – Thousands of members and sympathisers of the “Justice for David” group rallied in downtown Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina again on Thursday, despite a police ban, to demand the truth about the death of 21-year-old David Dragičević. A support event for the protests in Banja Luka was held in Zagreb.
The gathering was again led by David’s father Davor. After police ordered them to move away or they would disperse them by force, he told the officers they could ban protesters from standing on a city square but not from taking a protest walk, which they proceeded to do, carrying lit candles and pictures of David, shouting “Justice” and “Murderers”.
Davor Dragičević announced another big rally for Sunday a 6 p.m., saying he would then state a list of demands that would have to be met by January 9. “From then on, nothing will be the same,” he said.
He criticised Bosnian Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik, who earlier today blamed the escalating violence in Banja Luka on the local prosecutor’s office and defended Interior Minister Dragan Lukač for sending police against the protesters on Tuesday. Dodik said the judiciary was to blame for the fact that David Dragičević’s death has not been cleared up.
David Dragičević was found dead in the mouth of a tributary of the Vrbas River that runs through Banja Luka in March, a few days after he went missing in the night between March 17 and 18.
His father has initiated anti-government protests, insisting on a thorough investigation into his son’s suspicious death. The investigation has been lasting for nine months. A protest held in Banja Luka on Tuesday resulted in police brutality and numerous arrests.
About 150 Zagreb residents rallied in a downtown square today in a show of support to the “Heart for David” initiative and the parents of the murdered youth as well as to show disapproval of police brutality in Banja Luka this week. They lit heart-shaped candles and demanded justice for David Dragičević and all murdered children.
Gordana Pasanac, one of the participants, said that by supporting the protests in Banja Luka, they “want to prevent the same from happening in Croatia too.” She said the violence must end and that “the state must finally be on citizens’ side, so that we are all equal under the law, so that not only the children of socially acceptable families are protected.”
More news on the human rights issues in Croatia can be found in our Politics section.