Statue of assassin who unleashed WW I unveiled in Sarajevo

Bosnian actor Jovan Mojsilovic poses with a plastic gun replica at the unveiling of a statue of Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, June 27.

Story highlights

  • Gavrilo Princip fired the shots on June 28, 1914
  • He fatally shot Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife
  • The assassination is considered the start of World War I

One hundred years after firing the shot that set off World War I, Gavrilo Princip was toasted by some Saturday in Sarajevo -- whether they wore T-shirts emblazoned with his face or admired a statue recently unveiled in his honor.

Today, opinions on Princip are mixed. Some in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- of which Sarajevo is the capital -- think he was a terrorist, reported CNN affiliate N1. But there are also a number of Bosnian Serbs who view him as a hero, N1 reported.

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The former viewpoint was on display in Friday's unveiling of a statue of Princip in Sarajevo. Media footage showed officials clapping as others looked on to catch a glimpse of the life-sized portrayal.

The unveiling of the statue was one of many events, including concerts and symposiums, Sarajevo is holding this weekend to mark the start of World War I.

Princip was 19 years old June 28, 1914, when he assassinated Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophia, as the couple rode in an automobile through the streets.

"The shooting acted as a trigger, metastasizing from a Balkan street corner into a continental crisis by releasing pent-up tension between rival blocs of Great European Powers: the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany on one side and France, Russia and Great Britain on the other," Tim Butcher, author of "The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin who Brought the World to War," wrote in an op-ed piece for CNN.com.

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