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Belgrade Bans Srebrenica Anniversary Gatherings

Citing security concerns, Serbian police have banned all public gatherings planned in the capital Belgrade to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre on July 11.

"I warn anyone considering rallying anyway that police will neither allow, nor tolerate any gatherings," Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said on July 10.

The ban applies both to gatherings honoring the victims and those by ultranationalists who have threatened to disrupt such events.

The Initiative-7000, a Serbian NGO run by journalist-turned activist Dusan Masic, has planned to organize an event in Belgrade on July 11 when some 7,000 people would lie down on the pavement in front of the parliament.

The organizers said the symbolic gesture is aimed at commemorating the victims and showing the scale of the slaughter in neighboring Bosnia of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb troops — the worse carnage in Europe since the Holocaust.

Several Serb ultranationalist groups, who deny that it was genocide and claim that fewer than 8,000 people died, have pledged to disrupt the event.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa