Hands off the poster: Private security agency protects Vucic’s electoral campaign

The high-profile security company Intersec – which guarded Paris Hilton during her Serbia visit – has been engaged to stop people removing or defacing PM Aleksandar Vucic’s presidential campaign posters.

The security company Intersec from Novi Sad is mounting a 24-hour guard over a prominent poster of Serbian Progressive Party leader and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic in the northern city of Novi Sad until polling day on April 2.

“I have to be here, this is my job, and we are guarding this poster 24 hours a day. My company sent me here and that is all I know,” a guard keeping his eye on a large Vucic poster in Serbia’s second city told BIRN.

Both Intersec and the Progressive Party declined BIRN’s request to comment.

Intersec has been in charge of security at the well-known EXIT festival, as well as for the concerts of Ceeloo Green in Novi Sad, Red Hot Chilli Peppers in Indjija, Madonna in Belgrade, as well as for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Novi Sad and sports events.

In September 2016, US celebrity Paris Hilton posted a photograph on Snapchat of them providing security for her on a visit to Serbia where she DJ-ed for a private party in the capital Belgrade.

The move came after unknown assailants started ripping off or damaging Vucic posters in the days and weeks leading up to the presidential election, which he is tipped to win.

On the night of March 24, someone removed Vucic’s teeth from a poster on a building under reconstruction, which drew mockery online.

Previously, several people ripped down posters of Vucic on March 18, when he held an election rally in Novi Sad, mainly older people, apparently, who they said want to keep their city clean.

In Kraljevo, in the west of Serbia, police detained three activists from the Lokalni front [Local front] organisation and councilors from the local assembly for removing posters of Vucic.

Branislav Senicic, from Local Front, said the public prosecutor told him that “he thinks that a case doesn’t exist – but that my behaviour had been offensive to someone – to the billboard”.

He and two other activists from the Front spent two hours in the police station on March 20, when Vucic held a rally in the town. The Front supports a rival candidate, former Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic.

Senicic said when he saw the police watching over Vucic’s billboard in front of the town hall, where Vucic had his rally, “I asked if they could guard our posters as well and the policeman answered: we don’t take care of anybody’s poster. Then we tested them, went to another location and sprayed some lines on a Vucic poster. Several police officers appeared immediately.”

By Vanja Djuric

(Balkan Insight, 27.03.2017)

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/serbian-private-security-company-protects-vucic-posters-03-27-2017

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