International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Belgrade protesters: Nothing can stop us from changing regime; organizer attacked


November 30, 2019

This Saturday’s #1 in 5 million anti-government protest in Belgrade, the 52nd in a row, marks the first anniversary of the “Stop Bloody Shirts” rally following the beating of an opposition leader in central Serbia and named after his shirt was soaked in blood, the Neta news agency reported.

The people also protested over the Krusik ammunition factory’s whistleblower Aleksandar Obradovic’s arrest and the withdrawal of the NIN weekly cover page which the ruling politicians and pro-regime journalists and analysts said called for the murder of President Aleksandar Vucic.

The photo was made by the state Tanjug news agency at earlier arms fair and showed a sniper rifle barrel pointing at Vucic. NIN said it cropped the photo to fit the cover page, but its publisher demanded the change of the picture.

NIN editors answered by re-printing the edition with a blank cover page.

“It’s been a year after a head was broken, a year since the first protest triggered a marathon revolution and rebellion against the dictatorship. During that year, we showed persistence, we showed nothing could stop us from changing this twisted system,” the organisers said in a statement ahead of the gathering.

The demonstrators carried banners reading “Freedom for Aleksandar Obradovic,” “No Happiness Without Freedom, no Freedom Without Justice,” and “Boycott.”The main opposition group the Alliance for Serbia said would boycott the next spring general elections, saying there were no conditions for a fair and free vote.

The colporters were selling the copies of NIN weekly first version with the photo that was withdrawn.

On November 30 last year, Borko Stefanovic, an opposition leader was heavily beaten by thugs wearing masks. He was hit with metal bars and kicked while on the ground.

A day later, a protest “Stop Bloody Shirts,” was organised in Belgrade. It has been going on every Saturday since.

In the meantime, when Vucic said he would not cede to the people and opposition demands even if five million of them gathered, the organisers renamed the rallies into #1 in five million.  

Before this Saturday's rally started, the members of the opposition nationalist Dveri movement blocked the doors to the RTS public broadcasters, demanding some air time for Stefanovic and others, who had been ignored by the state TV so far.

A man attacked Srdjan Markovic, one of the 1 in 5 million protest’s organisers near Serbia’s Government building during the Saturday’s protest walk through the city’s central streets. Markovic said the man “chocked him for 30 seconds” before the police took him away. The people who saw the incident, encircled the man to prevent him from escaping before the police intervened. Markovic added he filmed the man because he recognised him after an attack during one of the previous rallies when the same man “hit me.” He said the police then told him he should report the assault since the man did not have an ID. “I expect the police and prosecutors to react and tell us who those people who film us at every protest are,” Marjanovic said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a548433/Serbia-s-anti-government-protesters-say-nothing-will-stop-them-from-changing-regime.html


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