On Thursday, right-wing groups tried to prevent the opening of a traditional Serbian-Albanian arts festival called “Miredita / Dobar Dan” that takes place in central Belgrade but were kept under control by a strong police presence.
The opening day of the Miredita, Dobar Dan (“good day” in Albanian and Serbian) festival was reported to have been as tense as it was in previous years with the police blocking off the streets leading to the Centre For Cultural Decontamination where the festival has been held since 2014. The police had to escort Kosovo artists to the venue.
The 200-strong crowd of protesters included members of the ultra-conservative Zavetnici movement with their leader Milica Djurdjevic, Serbian Right leader Misa Vacic and the head of the Association of Families of Victims from Kosovo, Simo Spasic who is known for his anti-Albanian and pro-regime views.
The police arrested at least one person who tried to interrupt the opening. An N1 reporter at the venue said that at least one flare was thrown by the protesters.
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Djurdjevic told reporters that the festival is not about artists from Kosovo but is a political project while Vacic said that the protesters were patriots united against a common opponent – the Youth Initiative which organized the festival. The protest was called via social networks.
The festival opened with the play “I Am My Own Woman” by Pristina-based director Kushtrim Koliqi with Adrian Morina, the only actor on stage, playing more than 30 characters in the story about the German trasngender woman Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf who survived the Nazis and the East German regime.
The festival is co-organized by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights and Civic Initiative from Belgrade and Integra from Pristina.
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