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Srebrenica Anniversary: Bosnian Women Breach Cordon To Reach Massacre Site

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SREBRENICA
A Bosnian woman searches for her relative among 409 newly identified Srebrenica victims at the Potocari memorial cemetery near Srebrenica, 160 kilometers east of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. A burial ceremony for 409 victims will be held on Thursday, July 11, 2013 in Potocari, on the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica tragedy when in summer 1995 Bosnian Serb forces stormed the enclave and systematically killed thousands of Bosnian Muslims. (AP Photo/Amel Emric) | AP

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- A group of women broke Saturday through a police cordon and entered a former warehouse in Bosnia to lay flowers where their loved ones were killed during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Bosnian Serb police said they didn't use force, but the women – who are Muslim Bosniaks – alleged that the police beat them, injuring eight.

The head of the Bosnian Serb police, Gojko Vasic, said the women had no permission to enter the facility because it is private property but that they cut their way through a fence. He said one woman hit a police officer over the head with her mobile phone.

Munira Subasic, who led the group of women, said she was bruised when police beat "us with elbows and feet."

On July 11, 1995, Serb forces overran the eastern town of Srebrenica and executed more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniak men and boys in what became known as the worst massacre in Europe since the Nazi era.

According to a U.N. war crimes tribunal, about 1,000 of the victims were brought to the warehouse in the nearby village of Kravice, locked inside and gunned down on July 13. Soldiers then threw hand grenades inside to finish off potential survivors.

The bodies were buried in mass graves but then excavated again a few months later by the perpetrators with bulldozers and buried at other locations to hide the crime. Many of the bodies were torn apart.

This past week, Subasic buried two bones of her then-18 year-old son; more of his remains have not yet been recovered.

Ethnic tensions still simmer in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the warehouse lies in the Bosnian Serb half of the country, which has its own police force.

Relatives of the victims have never been allowed to visit the warehouse to pay their respects, but this year the women, carrying pliers, were determined to get inside. Subasic said the people injured mainly suffered bruises, but that "every victory had a price and so does this one."

"In 1995, they forced our children inside and today they beat us to prevent us from getting in," she said.

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