Environmental protest organizers reject possibility of more demands

Beta/Milan Obradović

The Alliance of Ecological Organizations of Serbia (SEOS) said on Monday that it is opposed to adding any more demands to those already made at the Saturday road block protests.

“The SEOS has decided to remain firm in the initial demands which caused us to start blocking roads. We feel that adding any more demands would water down everything and make room for more demands which would lead to a weakening of the justified revolt based on clear goals,” a press release said. The key demands are for the authorities to withdraw the recently adopted laws on referendum and expropriation which critics say were introduced to accommodate Rio Tinto’s plans to open a lithium mine in western Serbia.

It added that existing demands are in line with the SEOS goal to prevent the opening of a lithium mine in Serbia. “As residents of the areas threatened by the lithium mine, we are calling everyone who understands the importance of our demands to join us at next Saturday’s gatherings to save the country from ruin for ourselves and future generations,” it said.

The Green-Left Block said on Sunday that it wants to added two more demands for the Serbian authorities to meet – a law eliminating the possibility of any mine in the Jadar area of western Serbia and the dismissal of the government electronic media watchdog (REM) including the REM Council head Olivera Zekic who called for the arrest of everyone involved in the protests.

The new demands led to a heated debate in a live Sunday night talk show between the heads of two organizations involved in the protests – Sava Manojlovic of the Kreni Promeni Movement and former Sabac Mayor now leader of the Open Civic Platform AKCIJA which is part of the Green-Left Block. Manojlovic said that more demands would just water down the protests while Zelenovic said that the situation should be used fully to get rid of Rio Tinto immediately.