The mural saga continued in Belgrade on Wednesday with two new ones painted next to the first dedicated to convicted war criminal Ratko Mladic, putting next to him a, Nazi collaborator and a freedom fighter.
In a bizarre attempt to recall parts of Serbia’s history, the faces of Draza Mihailovic, the commander of Chetniks, the Nazi collaborators in WW II, and of Field Marshal Zivojin Misic, celebrated commander in all Serbia’s liberation wars from 1876 to 1918, were painted to share the same building’s wall with the war criminal.
Mladic’s mural stood on the building wall in the central Belgrade Vracar municipality for months before the Youth Initiative for Human Rights announced its removal. The police banned it, briefly detained two activists throwing eggs against the mural, but stood peacefully during the rights’ group glorifying the war criminal.
A man managed to throw white paint at the mural. The rightists washed and restored it.
Another activist again threw black paint over Mladic’s face, but, again, the mural’s guardians washed and restored it.
The Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin defended the police presence at the scene as their successful operation to prevent the clash between the anti-fascists and the rightists, believed to be soccer hooligans.
Every mural has the Belgrade Partizan FC insignia.
Vulin did not explain why his plainclothes or uniformed policemen did not react to the rightists’ celebration of the convicted war criminal and allowed some young men wearing black hoodies to guard the mural in central Belgrade.
President Aleksandar Vucic agreed, saying the police prevented the clash, adding the activists made a circus provoking beatings.
He said the police’s job was not to deal with murals, graffiti and alike, but to keep peace and order.
Vucic also did not comment on the glorification of the convicted war criminal.