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Serbia prime minister chased from Bosnian Genocide memorial

TOPSHOTSDIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

Bodyguards try to protect Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic from stones hurled at him by an angry crowd at the Potocari Memorial Center.

Serbia’s prime minister took a rock to the face Saturday before an enraged crowd forced him to flee a 20th anniversary remembrance of the 1995 Bosnian genocide.

Aleksandar Vucic, once a Serbian ultra-nationalist, was targeted with stones, water bottles and other projectiles during the commemoration of the 8,000 Bosnian Muslims slaughtered at Srebrenica.

It was Europe’s worst mass killing since the Holocaust in World War II.

Though Vucic came in a gesture of reconciliation, a portion of the huge crowd instead focused on his divisive past. A few carried banners with a Vucic quote from the era of the mass murders: “For every Serb killed, we will kill 100 Bosniaks.”

Though Vucic came in a gesture of reconciliation, a portion of the huge crowd instead focused on his divisive past.ANTONIO BRONIC/REUTERS

Though Vucic came in a gesture of reconciliation, a portion of the huge crowd instead focused on his divisive past.

Some among the tens of thousands in the eastern Bosnian town where Bosnian Serb troops executed the victims crashed through a fence to pursue the shaken Vucic.

The prime minister, flanked by his bodyguards, was forced to bolt through the onrushing crowd to safety. He quickly left Bosnia-Herzegovina and returned to Serbia.

The angry masses “broke the fences and turned against us,” recounted Vucic associate Suzana Vasiljevic. Vucic’s security used open umbrellas to protect the prime ministers from the incoming items.

People look on as bodyguards try to protect Vucic.DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

People look on as bodyguards try to protect Vucic.

Police detain a man who attacked Vucic.STOYAN NENOV/REUTERS

Police detain a man who attacked Vucic.

A Bosnian man mourns during the Saturday funeral ceremony of his relatives at the Potocari Memorial Center, near the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

A Bosnian man mourns during the Saturday funeral ceremony of his relatives at the Potocari Memorial Center, near the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

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The July 1995 killings came near the end of a three-year inter-ethnic war where the Bosnian Serbs fought with Bosnian Muslims and Croatian Catholics.

The conflict left more than 100,000 dead and millions homeless.

Though the United Nations declared Srebrenica a safe haven for civilians, the Serbs invaded the city and went on a killing spree.

Bodyguards use an umbrella to protect Vucic.Matej Divizna/Getty Images

Bodyguards use an umbrella to protect Vucic.

Soldiers first rounded up and killed 2,000 men before hunting down and executing another 6,000 as they tried to flee the town.

A “deeply disappointed” Camil Durakovic, the Bosnian Muslim mayor of Srebrenica, issued a quick apology to Vucic for the angry outburst.

The memorial drew dozens of international dignitaries including ex-President Clinton, Britain’s Princess Anne and Jordan’s Queen Noor.

“I want to thank the prime minister of Serbia for having the courage to come here today and I think it is important for us to acknowledge that,” Clinton said before the rocks started flying.

lmcshane@nydailynews.com

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Nation / World – NY Daily News

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