Bosnia:20 years later,11,541 empty seats at Sarajevo concert

Number of casualties in 44-month siege

28 March, 11:11

(ANSAmed) - SARAJEVO, MARCH 28 - For the 20 th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Bosnia, on April 6 an unusual concert will be held in Sarajevo with 11,541 empty seats: the number of those killed in the lengthy siege of the city by Serbian forces.

As the event's organizer Haris Pasovic noted yesterday to journalists, the over 11,000 empty seats will be placed along about 1 km of Maresciallo Tito Boulevard, the main street in central Sarajevo. ''Those seats will be empty since the viewers, all of whom were killed, will not have the chance to attend the concert,'' Pasovic said. ''All of them were killed senselessly, both civilians and soldiers, simply because they were inhabitants of this city. We miss them now.'' Sarajevo's inhabitants have been invited to take an hour off on April 6 and come to the sidewalks on the boulevard alongside the empty seats to watch the concert.

A local choir will also perform about ten songs composed during the siege of the city, with shop windows displaying announcements and posters for the cultural events held during the 44-month siege.

Sarajevo mayor Alija Behman said that the event will be called ''The Red Line'', in honour of the ''line of blood which covered the city streets from 1992 to 1995'', during the three years of armed conflict in Bosnia. ''It is our duty to remember and commemorate the loss of our fellow citizens, but we are doing it even for future generations, so that this sort of tragedy never again occurs in the heart of Europe,'' the mayor added. For the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the war, dozens of journalists and war correspondents who covered the armed conflict in Bosnia (1992-1995) will be meeting up in Sarajevo in the first week of April. They will be staying at the Holiday Inn, the historic headquarters of the international press during the war, where meetings and various celebratory events will be held, including an exhibition of war photos. The war in Bosnia led to 100,000 deaths and 2.2 million refugees. In the siege of Sarajevo under Bosnian Serb troops led by General Radko Mladic, over 11,000 civilians were killed, including over 1,500 children.(ANSAmed).

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