Thousands of people marched in Sarajevo and other Bosnian cities Monday (14 August), days after a woman was murdered by her partner who livestreamed her killing on social media before killing two men and himself.
The murders, and the 35-year-old suspect’s Instagram posting of her killing, have shocked the Balkan country.
“We demand that femicide be made a specific criminal act,” Sarajevo mayor Benjamina Karic told the crowd.
Speaking on behalf of the demonstrators, she called for more severe punishment for the crimes of femicide, domestic violence and for the construction of more safehouses for women victims of violence.
She also encouraged victims to report their attackers.
“This is the last moment to adopt adequate measures. All those who hold positions of responsibility and who tolerate this situation become accomplices in perpetrating violence,” Karic said.
Protesters held up placards emblazoned with messages such as “Stop femicide”, “Say no to violence” and “Silence is complicity”.
Protesters also took to the streets of the northeastern town of Gradacac after attending the funeral of the victim, as well as in the southern city of Mostar and the central town of Zenica, media reported.
On Friday, Nermin Sulejmanovic, 35, a professional bodybuilder and fitness instructor in Gradacac, killed his partner Nizama Hecimovic, 37, with a gun, after beating her, broadcasting the crime on Instagram.
Before that, he forced her and their nine-month-old child to leave the home of Hecimovic’s cousin to where she had fled a few days earlier after being assaulted.
According to local media, the broadcast of his murder was watched live by several thousand people, some of whom were even believed to have encouraged the attacker.
After killing his partner, Sulejmanovic killed two other people, a man and his son, whom he knew, and wounded three others, a woman and two men, including a police officer.
According to local NGOs, some 20 women have been killed in Bosnia in the past two years by their spouses.
In the country of 3.5 million people, 48% of women were victims of some form of violence by a man after the age of 15, according to an OSCE study carried out in 2018.
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