On Saturday, May 16, thousands of protesters marched in Sarajevo against a Catholic mass commemorating Croatian pro-Nazi collaborators and civilians killed in the Second World War. Participants gathered at the Sacred Heart Cathedral and marched to other areas of the city with significance to WWII chanting anti-Nazi and anti-Facist slogans. The march was held in commemoration of the reportedly more than 10,000 Sarajevans, primarily Jewish, killed by the Ustase, a Croatian Revolutionary Movement, during the war. Despite the size, the protest was largely peaceful with no reports of violence or arrests.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected around the demonstration sites.
The mass is an annual event usually held in May in the town of Bleiburg, Austria, to commemorate thousands of Bosnian and Croatian fascists allied with Nazi Germany in WWII but was canceled due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions. As such, the Bosnian and Croatian Catholic churches organized the movement under the auspices of the Croatian parliament
Individuals in Sarajevo are advised to monitor developments, avoid protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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