The list of dangerous groups and individuals, “leaked” from Facebook last week, also includes far-right organisations from Serbia and the Western Balkans, linked to terrorism, incitement to hatred and calls for violence, Radio Free Europe reports.
Among the extremist movements, there are many that have been shut down, but also far-right organisations that are not only active, but have people associated with them who have important roles in the political life of Serbia, or who have collaborated with the Serbian government.
The extreme right-wing organisation ‘Srpski narodni pokret 1389’, whose representative is Miša Vacić, politically active and leader of the Serbian right-wing movement, is one of the listed dangerous organisations. Vacić has remained consistent with the ideas of the extreme right, because as president of the Serbian right in May 2021. he participated in the ‘Our Europe’ rally in Rome, also attended by the representatives of various right-wing organisations from Bulgaria, France and Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Germany and other countries.
In 2013, Vacić, as a spokesperson for the “SNP 1389” movement, was sentenced to one year’s probation for discrimination against the LGBT community, illegal possession of weapons and obstruction of justice. Facebook also marked ‘Srbska akcija’ (SA) as a dangerous far-right group with strong clerical elements, which in 2018, protested in Belgrade to support the rehabilitation of Milan Nedić.
As individuals linked to incitement to hatred, Facebook also named two detainees in The Hague criminal tribunal – the former President of the Republic of Srpska, Radovan Karadžić, and the former commander-in-chief of the Republic of Srpska’s Army, Ratko Mladić.
The list also includes Vojislav Šešelj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, who was sentenced to ten years in prison by the Hague tribunal for incitement to persecution, deportation, forced displacement and relocation of Croats in the village of Hrtkovci in Vojvodina in 1992. Vojislav Šešelj said he was not surprised by being listed by Facebook, as his profile on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram were deleted a few years ago.
The Serbian branch of the group ‘Generacija identiteta’ was also recognised as an organisation linked to inciting hatred. This far-right group was founded in France, and has been banned from operating since March 2021. However, this did not stop the Serbian government from appointing one of its former members, Arnaud Guyon, as acting director of the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region.
Guyon did admit that he was a member of the group “for six months, from 2010 to 2011”. In 2017, the same organisation played host to James Dawson, a British anti-immigration activist, in Belgrade, who, according to BIRN, trained the Serbian right-wing on how to win the information war.
The black list also includes some organisations banned in Serbia, such as the neo-Nazi group Nacionalni Stroj, banned by a Constitutional Court decision in 2011, and the clerical-fascist organization Obraz, banned in 2012.
Another organization that was blacklisted is the conservative right-wing popular movement Naši, an association that became known to the general public when, in 2007, its supporters stormed and disrupted the live broadcast of Peščanik political programme in Arandjelovac. The founder of the movement is Ivan Ivanović, who published a list of the 30 “biggest traitors of Serbia” on the organization’s website on 28 March 2014. The list included actors, directors, writers, political analysts and journalists. This organisation advocates the adoption of a law “on the prohibition of settlement of migrants on the territory of Serbia”. It does not have a Facebook page, but is active on Twitter.
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