Bosnia genocide victims protest Gaza offensive

Thu Jan 8, 2009 9:35am EST

SARAJEVO Jan 8 (Reuters) - Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims protested in front of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo on Thursday to call on Washington to stop Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Munira Subasic, who lost her son and husband when Bosnian Serbs took over the eastern town of Srebrenica, said she felt solidarity with the Palestinian people.

"In 2009, Palestinian mothers are going through ordeals we experienced in 1995 and we are raising our voice because we know about pain and suffering. We know how it feels to lose a child or husband," said Subasic.

Protesters said they felt they had to react to killings of more than 660 Palestinians and the suffering of refugees in the 13-day-old offensive launched by Israel.

Israel says the operation is a response to cross-border rocket attacks by the Gaza Strip's Islamist Hamas rulers.

Hundreds joined the Sarajevo protest, some with placards reading "Stop the killing of innocent children" and "Srebrenica 1995 -- Gaza 2009."

"I believe the United States, as the leading world power, could stop the bloodshed of civilians and, even worse, of children in Gaza," said Murat Tahirovic, the head of an association of Bosnian wartime camp inmates.

"During the war, the blood, the suffering and the pain were our everyday scenes and I cannot help but sympathise with the Palestinian people," said another protester. "It all reminds us of what we went through during the war and it must stop."

Srebrenica, the site of Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two, was under U.N. protection when it was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic. He has been indicted on genocide charges but is still on the run. (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; editing by Adam Tanner and Andrew Roche)



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