Belgrade Unveils Controversial Monument for Assassin Who Started WWI
A statue of Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian Serb nationalist who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand 101 years ago was presented in a park in downtown Belgrade on Sunday. The unveiling attracted hundreds of people.
The killing in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 is regarded as the event which started World War I.
The assassin— who was only 19 when he killed the Archduke and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg—remains a highly controversial figure in a Balkan region still divided following the inter-ethnic war that took place from 1992-1995.
According to AFP, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in a speech at the unveiling “Princip was a hero, a symbol of ideas of liberty…. Others may think what they want.”
In Serbia he is a revered figure, lauded for liberating Slavs from the Austro-Hungarian empire. He is buried in Belgrade,where there’s also a bridge named after him and plaques have been put up in his honor.
However, throughout the Balkan region others regard him as a terrorist who set off a chain of events that cuased one of the deadliest conflicts in history, which also redrew the world map.
Serbian and Bosnian Serb leaders boycotted the 100th anniversary of Princip’s death last year due to his controversial legacy.
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