Europe

Defiant Bosnian Serbs celebrate their controversial holiday

  • Members of police forces of Republic of Srpska march during a parade marking 25th anniversary of Republic of Srpska in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, Bosnia, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.  The Jan. 9 holiday commemorates the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting the country's devastating 4-year war. (AP Photo/Radivoje Pavicic)

    Members of police forces of Republic of Srpska march during a parade marking 25th anniversary of Republic of Srpska in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, Bosnia, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The Jan. 9 holiday commemorates the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting the country's devastating 4-year war. (AP Photo/Radivoje Pavicic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Members of police forces of Republic of Srpska march during a parade marking 25th anniversary of Republic of Srpska in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, Bosnia, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.  The Jan. 9 holiday commemorates the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting the country's devastating 4-year war. (AP Photo/Radivoje Pavicic)

    Members of police forces of Republic of Srpska march during a parade marking 25th anniversary of Republic of Srpska in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, Bosnia, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The Jan. 9 holiday commemorates the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting the country's devastating 4-year war. (AP Photo/Radivoje Pavicic)  (The Associated Press)

  • President of the Republic of Srpska Milorad Dodik, centre right, attends a traditional service in Orthodox Church marking the 25 anniversary of Republic of Srpska in Banja Luka, Bosnia, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.  The Jan. 9 holiday commemorates the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting the country's devastating 4-year war. (AP Photo/Radivoje Pavicic)

    President of the Republic of Srpska Milorad Dodik, centre right, attends a traditional service in Orthodox Church marking the 25 anniversary of Republic of Srpska in Banja Luka, Bosnia, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The Jan. 9 holiday commemorates the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting the country's devastating 4-year war. (AP Photo/Radivoje Pavicic)  (The Associated Press)

Bosnian Serbs are celebrating a controversial holiday in defiance of the country's other ethnic groups, its constitutional court and the international community.

The Jan. 9 holiday commemorates the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting the country's devastating four-year war.

Bosnian Serb police officers, firefighters and folklore groups paraded through the streets of Banja Luka, the de-facto capital of the Serb-run part of the country.

Although Serb leaders insisted that Monday's celebrations Banjawould be a secular holiday, they participated in religious ceremonies in the city's main church. That was broadcast live on the local television, which also included interviews with Bosnian Serb war-time military and political leaders who had been sentenced for crimes against humanity by a U.N war crimes court.