The 30th anniversary of the Bosnian and Serbian entity of Republika Srpska is being marked amid a serious political crisis in the country.
It follows a fear of a return to the dark years of the 1990s inter-ethnic war over secessionist aims.
The Serb political leader Milorad Dodik’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric along with his plans to start withdrawing from the Bosnian government has cast a large shadow over this year’s banned holiday.
Milorad Dodik, Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency said, “Every national movement, and ours too, has a single goal, which is to build a people’s state, namely its own state. So the doubt whether it is possible should never affect the minds of us Serbs and other people living in Republika Srpska. Because it is really possible.”
The central government’s power is hugely limited because all national actions require a consensus from all three ethnic groups.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member presidency made up of one member from each of the three major ethnic groups.
And tensions have been increasing since Dodik’s plans to withdraw from the country’s central institutions, including the army, the judiciary, and the tax systems.
But despite fresh sanctions from the US, celebrations will continue over the three days.