BiH: Two gatherings, one park

BiH: Two gatherings, one park

After the slap in the Republika Srpska National Assembly, when Minister of Interior, Dragan Lukač, struck the young MP, Draško Stanivuković, the opposition parties filled a request for a protest gathering in Banja Luka central park, named “Mladen Stojanović”, on Friday afternoon. However, this became complicated as the ruling party supporters filled a request for gathering at the same time and at the same park. Surprisingly enough, the police allowed both events.

Republika Srpska experienced a similar situation in May 2016 when opposition and ruling parties had also received the go ahead for gatherings at the same time, but the police then decided to separate them with a “safe zone” one kilometre wide. In this case, the “safe zone” is 50 meters wide.

It is a fact that both gatherings attracted fewer participants than the events three years ago, but it still remains a mystery why the police, with Minister Lukač as the supreme authority, allowed this situation. The “buffer zone” was filled with police and even stronger police forces were ready to intervene. Luckily, there was no need for their engagement and both gatherings finished in peace.

The pposition demanded the resignation of Lukač and the withdrawal of the Republika Srpska signature from the “Reforms Program”, which supposedly is a step closer to NATO.

Ruling party speakers, 50 metres away, called for sanctions fagainst Stanivuković and for Lukač to keep his ministerial chair.

“Dragan, you are not alone. Your police officers, fellow soldiers are with you, the ones who were rescuing you when you were severely injured, and the wartime brigade commanders. Just go ahead”, said one of the speakers.

After all, the overall impression is that opposition parties lost another chance to make a significant impact and use the slap in Parliament as the starting point for future relations with voters, given the larger number of participants at the ruling parties’ gathering.

On the other side, ruling parties can be satisfied as their gathering showed that they have more supporters than the opposition. Their victory is more significant because next year BiH will hold local elections and young Stanivuković will be candidate for Banja Luka mayor.

This can be seen as his first debacle./ibna