Thousands take to streets and demand release of hero Mladic
Published 30/05/2011 | 05:00
Protesters throwing stones and bottles clashed with riot police in Belgrade last night after an estimated 10,000 Serbian nationalists gathered outside the parliament to demand the release of Ratko Mladic .
Rioters overturned garbage containers, broke traffic lights and set off firecrackers as they rampaged through the city.
More than 3,000 riot police were deployed to block their advances, and skirmishes took place in several locations in the centre of the capital.
Protesters gave Nazi salutes as they sang nationalist songs and carried banners honouring Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander.
The demonstrators, who consider Mladic a hero, said Serbia should not hand him over to the UN war crimes court in The Hague.
"Co-operation with The Hague tribunal represents treason," Serbian Radical Party official Lidija Vukicevic told the crowd. "This is a protest against the shameful arrest of the Serbian hero."
"General Mladic is a saint. He was a saviour of Serbs. If not for him, we would no longer exist," said Ljubisa Mandic, a former Bosnian Serb soldier.