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Police free Bosnian Serb who led protests over son’s death

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Davor Dragicevic, father of 21-year-old David Dragicevic speaks during an interview with the Associated Press, in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, northwest of Sarajevo. Bosnian Serb police have detained the man whose quest for the truth over the death of his son has sparked months of anti-government protests. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnian Serb authorities on Wednesday released from detention the man who has sparked anti-government protests with his demands for the truth about his son’s death.

Police arrested Davor Dragicevic on Tuesday over allegations that he threatened the security of Interior Minister Dragan Lukac. He was freed after being questioned by prosecutors in Banja Luka, the main Bosnian Serb city.

The prosecutor’s office said the legal proceedings against Dragicevic will continue but that there was no reason to keep him in detention.

Hours later, Dragicevic led more than 1,000 people to a protest march in Banja Luka as riot police blocked a central square barring the demonstrators from gathering there.

Dragicevic took the crowd to the spot where he says his son David Dragicevic was killed in March. No incidents were reported on Wednesday following a day of scuffles between police and Dragicevic’s supporters on Tuesday.

Several other people also were detained on Monday, including some opposition politicians and briefly Dragicevic’s ex-wife. The family’s supporters rallied in protest, scuffling with the police in the city.

“They claim I threatened someone and I did not,” Dragicevic said upon his release. “I will never give up!”

Dragicevic’s “Justice for David” movement has demanded information about the death of his 21-year-old son. It has inspired months of anti-government protests that have reflected wide popular discontent over corruption and unemployment in the Balkan nation.

Police initially said the death was a suicide, but the young man’s family insists he was killed by someone else. Prosecutors have opened a homicide investigation, which is ongoing.

Dragicevic has accused top police officials of covering up his son’s slaying and protecting the killers. Authorities deny the allegations.

International officials in Bosnia have expressed concern over the situation and urged restraint.

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