New York Times reported on the ‘Serbia against violence’ protests that have been taking place in Belgrade since two massacres in May. Andrew Higgins wrote that Serbian citizens are denouncing a “culture of violence” and “the increasingly authoritarian rule of the country’s leader.”
He notes that these are “the biggest street demonstrations in the capital, Belgrade, since demonstrators toppled Slobodan Milosevic as Serbia’s president in 2000.”
After citing some of the demands, as well as some of the statements from those who spoke at the protest, Higgins writes that the protests have grown “into a wider, though so far, peaceful, revolt against the increasingly authoritarian rule of Mr. Vucic.”
He notes that Vucic “began his political career as a radical nationalist during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, but has sought in recent years to present himself as a pro-European leader eager for Serbia to revive its stalled efforts to join the European Union.” he also notes that Vucic “has balked at imposing sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine, but Serbia did vote at the United Nations to condemn Moscow.”
According to the NYT report, unlike a huge protest involving soccer hooligans and arson in October 2000 that forced the resignation of Milosevic, Saturday’s demonstration was “peaceful, except for a few clashes between protesters and pro-government agitators.”
“Mr. Vucic has faced — and survived — large street protests in the past, but none as big as on Saturday. Past protests, spearheaded by opposition parties and disrupted by violence provoked by government supporters, all fizzled,” he writes.