Serbia has unveiled a monument to Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination of the Austro-Hungarian crown prince in Sarajevo helped ignite World War I and still provokes controversy in the ethnically-divided Balkans.

Hundreds of citizens attended the ceremony in central Belgrade on Sunday — the day of the 1914 assassination and the Serbian national holiday of St. Vitus day.

President Tomislav Nikolic described Princip — who is viewed as a terrorist by many outside Serbia — a freedom fighter and a hero. He says that "Princip was a symbol of the idea of freedom."

Austria accused Serbia of masterminding the assassination. Backed by Germany, Austria attacked Serbia, whose allies, Russia and France, were quickly drawn in. Britain, with its sprawling Commonwealth empire, and the United States also joined the fighting.