In response to two devastating mass shootings that claimed the lives of 17 people, including a significant number of minors, tens of thousands of passionate demonstrators have taken to the streets of Belgrade, Serbia, for the second major protest in recent times. The march, which began in front of the parliament building, saw protestors voicing their grievances and accusing populist President Aleksandar Vui of indirectly contributing to the tragic incidents by fostering a despondent and divisive atmosphere in the country.
The demonstrators, resolute in their demands for accountability, continued their march to the government’s headquarters, where they voiced their concerns over the lack of action taken to address the rising violence and insecurity. In a bold move, they obstructed a crucial highway bridge over the Sava River, effectively causing disruptions to daily life, with an aim to draw attention to their cause.
However, the pro-government media has been quick to criticize the protestors, branding them as “hooligans” for their actions. This rhetoric has further escalated tensions between the opposing sides, deepening the divide in an already fractured society.
Opposition politician, Srdjan Milivojevic, a vocal leader amongst the demonstrators, has described the ongoing situation as a “battle for survival,” leaving no room for complacency. He demands the immediate resignation of President Vui and urges a change in leadership to steer the country towards a more secure and unified future.
Surprisingly, during the demonstration, the police have chosen not to intervene, taking a somewhat passive approach in the face of escalating unrest. Their decision not to engage has raised questions among the public and political observers, sparking debates over the appropriate role of law enforcement during mass protests.
On the other side of the aisle, President Vui has responded to the protests, accusing opposition leaders of exploiting the tragedy and harassing citizens. He asserts that the police will only intervene if lives are directly threatened, hinting at a potential escalation if the situation continues to deteriorate.
The present demonstration is part of a broader wave of protests sweeping through Serbia, with previous marches in Belgrade and smaller cities and villages. Among their demands, the protestors are calling for the resignation of the government and the revocation of broadcast licenses for television stations that promote violence and provide platforms to convicted war criminals and criminal figures.