Environmental activists : If necessary, we’ll block Serbia’s April elections

Dragan Mujan /Nova.rs

Members of the 'Go-Change' movement, other environmental activists and citizens gathered again outside Serbia's Presidency building late on Thursday demanding a ban on lithium and boron excavation for 20 years and threatening to continue with roadblocks, including the obstruction of April 3 elections if the Government did not decide on the request before that.

„We are asking for a ban on the excavation of lithium and boron,“ Savo Manojlovic, the ‘G0-Change’ leader, told the crowd.

The Government said there was not enough time for it to change the law and include the moratorium in it, since the Parliament had to be resolved by mid-February when the elections were to be called.

But Manojlovic said: „they passed so many laws without public debates,“ adding that they were asking the Government to pass a bill that could be adopted in 24 hours.

„You (the authorities) are deciding either on the end of the protests or on your end. Serbia is going to win,“ he said.

The activists say they believe that without the moratorium, Rio Tinto’s licenses would be revoked after the election.

Serbia’s authorities have so far met some of the environmentalist demands, but the activists feared that without the moratorium, that would not be valid.

„I do not know who will be with the prime minister or president, but I know that Rio Tinto will not return to Serbia,“ Manojlovic said at the protest.

And if the moratorium was not passed, he said: „we will obstruct the elections, there will be no elections. Neither lithium nor boron will be mined in Serbia because it is not for sale.“