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Serbia Unveils Monument To Controversial Historical Figure

Hundreds of people attended the unveiling of the monument to Gavrilo Princip in Belgrade

Serbia has unveiled a monument to Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination of the Austro-Hungarian crown prince Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo helped spark World War I.

Princip, a Bosnian Serb nationalist, still provokes controversy in the ethnically-divided Balkans.

Hundreds of Serbs attended the unveiling ceremony in central Belgrade on June 28, the day of the assassination in 1914.

It is also the Serbian national holiday of St. Vitus day.

President Tomislav Nikolic described Princip, seen as a terrorist by many outside Serbia, as a hero.

Nikolic said "Princip was a symbol of the idea of freedom."

While some see Princip as a Serb nationalist who sought to liberate Slavs from their Austro-Hungarian occupiers, others regard him as a terrorist who unleashed bloodshed on the world.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP