(photo credit: )
A prominent Jewish group on Thursday protested a planned neo-Nazi march in a northern Serbian city next month and urged Serbian leaders to ban it.
The World Jewish Congress said in letters to Serbia's President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica that the issue was a "matter of great concern" for the organization.
"We were dismayed to learn" that the rally by neo-Nazi Nacionalni Stroj (National Guard) group will take place in Novi Sad on October 7, the letters, obtained by the Associated Press, said.
"We call upon you to join with others in condemnation of this proposed march and to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that Nacionalni Stroj does not continue its repugnant incitement," the letters said.
Nacionalni Stroj is a well-known neo-Nazi group in Serbia. Several members were convicted last year of inciting hatred after they broke into an anti-fascist gathering, and were sentenced to as much as one year in prison.
The group advocates extreme nationalists views. It has announced plans to hold the Oct. 7 march against the secession of Serbia's separatist Kosovo province.
Several human rights groups and minority organizations already have urged the authorities to ban the event, but there has been no response from the government.
Novi Sad, which was the scene of a 1942 massacre of about 800 Jews and 400 Serbs by Nazi occupiers during World War II, is currently run by a right-wing party with nationalist policies.
The World Jewish Congress said that neo-Nazi activities by Nacionalni Stroj were "well-known and certainly not in line with the principles of a democratic society."
There was no immediate response from Tadic or Kostunica to the letters.