Protests in Belgrade

A protest, under the slogan “Stop the Bloody Shirts”, took place in Belgrade on Saturday with several thousands of citizens gathering at the plateau in front of the Faculty of Philosophy and later proceeding to walk to the National Parliament and Radio and Television of Serbia.

The protest was over an attack on an opposition politician and the protestors also demanding policy changes by President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party. Opposition official Borko Stefanović was attacked by a group of men wearing black clothing on November 23rd in the town of Kruševac and suffered injuries from being beaten with an iron rod.

As media report, there were no incidents during the protest which was supported by several public figures, opposition politicians and artists. Dragan Djilas, Boško Obradović, Borko Stefanović, Zoran Lutovac, Balša Božović, Nikola Jovanović and Miroslav Aleksić were seen at the protest too which had no political party insignia.

They did carry signs saying “Always a whistle, never again a gun”, “For the rule of law and justice”, “Neo-Nazi Progressives” (aimed at the SNS), “Bloody gang,” “Why are you silent Europe?”, “Open the media for the head of the opposition.”

Earlier, one of the leaders of the opposition Alliance for Serbia, Dragan Djilas, said that the gathering would be a non-political, peaceful protest against violence.

Djilas told Blic daily that the protest would be aimed at “everything bad in society” and would not feature political speeches. He also said that he would start forming a political party in December, gather signatures and register it most likely in February.

Lawmaker Ana Stevanović told N1 on Sunday that the protest was a call against verbal, physical and psychological violence.

The covers of Serbian newspapers show that media has mostly ignored the protest, she said, asking what it is that the government and editors are trying to hide?

“We gathered to fight against violence, violence that takes place in the parliament against opposition lawmakers, violence that takes place in society, and violence against the leader of “Serbia’s Left”, Borko Stefanović,” she said.

She estimated that there were tens of thousands of citizens at the protest and media ignored it nevertheless, she said, explaining that most print media in the country are connected to those in power.

When asked to comment on the protests, Serbian President Vučić said that he “was not that impressed” and would “not give in to non-institutional pressure.”

“You want elections? What do you want? For me to give in to you, that nonsense of yours and what you stand for – I will not. I didn’t when they (protesters) walked for four months. I tell you in advance, it’s the farthest thing from my mind,” Vucic told reporters on Sunday, after a panel organized by his ruling SNS.

He underlined he would “not meet any of the protestors’ demands, ever”: 

The president also said that Serbia was a country where “everyone will be allowed to say what they think, but that bullying will never win, nor become mainstream.” 

Vučić went on to say that the Saturday protest was organized by “shady people and bullies”.

“Every protest is essentially political. That’s not a problem,” Vučić said, adding: “I think that the state acted towards the protest very responsibly and seriously. There was no policeman anywhere. Nobody prevented the protestors from walking wherever they wanted. There were no bloodied heads, like in some countries that lecture us about democratic behaviour.” 

(N1, 08.12.2018)


Photo credits: Tanjug / Rade Pretic

This post is also available in: Italiano

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