Serbian police arrest member of neo-Nazi youth group

Serbian police arrested a member of a neo-Nazi youth group that harassed participants at an anti-Fascist gathering, but faced criticism Friday that they were slow in detaining the others. Two dozen young neo-Nazis armed with crowbars and flashing the fascist salute burst into a university seminar on Wednesday, slapping students and professors in Novi Sad, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

Police said they arrested one of the extreme-right group's members on Thursday. He was charged with inciting religious and racial hatred. But, an opposition party in Novi Sad, which is ruled by the ultranationalist Serbian Radicals, accused the police of "standing behind the extremist groups in Serbia."

"Either the police will do their job, or we will do it for them to chase down the neo-Nazis," said Nenad Canak, the leader of the opposition Social Democratic League and former Novi Sad mayor. "There will be no more hesitation."

Novi Sad is the capital of Serbia's multiethnic Vojvodina province, where crimes by nationalists and extremism, including anti-Semitism, have been on the rise.

A senior Radical Party official, Maja Gojkovic, took over as Novi Sad's mayor from Canak after his pro-democrats lost local elections last year.

Gojkovic offered only muted criticism of the neo-Nazi group for the Wednesday's incident. Another Radical official denounced the organizers of the university seminar, entitled "Fascism Threat Today."

Police also filed charges against the organizers of the seminar, saying they had not officially reported the gathering to the authorities, reports the AP. I.L.

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