Anti-government protests continue in Serbia

by Cristian Florescu

On Saturday, the fifth protest for “Serbia against violence” took place, marking exactly one month since the first of two mass shootings. The protestors respectfully demanded the replacement of Interior Minister Bratislav Gašić and the head of the national intelligence agency BIA, Aleksandar Vulin. Additionally, they called for TV stations that promote violence to have their licenses revoked.

The protest, which was arranged by some members of the opposition, witnessed the gathering of a large crowd at the National Assembly located in the heart of Belgrade. Renowned Serbian actors and TV personalities addressed the audience, urging them to persist in their cause. The protestors have yet to alter their demands. It is suggested that the replacements of both Gašić and Vulin be considered and that members of the regulatory agency for broadcast media, REM, consider resigning. Additionally, the protestors are requesting that national broadcast licenses be taken away from TV stations that are perceived to promote violence. They also urge for newspapers that publish fake news and encourage violence to be closed down. During the protest, demonstrators surrounded the president’s office and left messages for Vučić while calling for his departure. Unfortunately, a physical altercation occurred between a member of a far-right group called “People’s Patrol” and a US citizen. The incident was recorded on video, and the member of the far-right group received a 15-day prison sentence. Regrettably, the US citizen was sentenced to 30 days. In a kind and respectful manner, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić shared on social media later that evening that he was present in his office and kindly urged individuals to embrace their dissimilarities as an opportunity for democracy. Vučić politely addressed all the individuals residing in Serbia and expressed gratitude towards them, including those who have sent him messages of support as well as those who have made threats to harm him. When asked about the protests, Vučić expressed his firm stance on Gašić’s position, stating that he would not consider allowing him to be substituted.

According to Vučić, it seems that prevention measures may not have been sufficient in preventing the tragic mass murder. The police tried their best to handle the situation, and it would be unfair to blame them or the state leadership for what happened. However, Vučić believes that calling for protests in response to such tragedies is not a responsible course of action, and he has never seen such behaviour from politicians in any other part of the world.

In the evening, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić mentioned on social media that he was present in his office and encouraged individuals to utilize their differences as democratic strengths.

Vučić politely addressed all the individuals in Serbia, expressing gratitude to both those who had sent him messages of support and those who had made threats of hanging him.

In regards to the protests, Vučić kindly restated his position that he would not permit Gašić to be substituted.

The display of a doll depicting Vučić on the gallows has stirred up controversy. The organizers have stated that they were not involved with the individual carrying the doll and believe that violent groups and individuals sent by the regime were responsible for provoking the crowd. Vučić respectfully commented on the hanged doll and shared that he receives a significant amount of death threats on a daily basis. He acknowledged that it is his responsibility as president to address these types of situations.

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