Serbian Police Seal Off Village To Prevent Far-Right Rally By Seselj

Serbian police have prevented a Serbian far-right politician convicted of war crimes from holding a rally in an ethnically mixed northern village where he spurred ethnic hatred during the 1990s Balkan war.

Dozens of police on May 6 sealed off the village of Hrtkovci, northwest of Belgrade, blocking Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj and his supporters from reaching the village and holding a rally there.

The UN war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia last month sentenced Seselj to 10 years in prison over his 1992 speech in Hrtkovci that resulted in the deportations of dozens of ethnic Croats from the village.

Seselj, a lawmaker in the Serbian parliament, remains free because he served his sentence while in custody during the trial.

The Serbian Radicals briefly gathered by police cordons and waved Serbia flags before dispersing.

A clash was reported with some members of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, who held a banner that called Seselj a “war criminal.”

"We wanted to have a peaceful rally, and the regime banned it without any reason," Seselj told reporters before going back to Belgrade.

The Liberal Youth Initiative for Human Rights group demanded on May 6 that authorities strip Seselj of his parliamentary seat because of the war crimes conviction.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Balkan Service, Reuters and AP