Protest held in Novi Sad, protesters demand a referendum on GUP

Nenad Mihajlović/

A protest entitled ‘Revolt Against the Mafia’ was held in Novi Sad over the violence against the participants of last week’s rally against the adoption of a General Urban Plan (GUP) for the city of Novi Sad.

The protesters demanded that persons responsible for the violence against citizens be prosecuted and for a referendum on the Novi Sad GUP to be called.

They told the city authorities that they were not afraid of them and that they will continue to fight for their city and against those who want to destroy it in the interest of big capital.

During the protest march the demonstrators spilled paint and broke a window on the local offices of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the protest was organized by “an aggressive, civic-oriented group” that “wants for sanctions to be imposed on Russia, for Republika Srpska to be condemned and for Serbia to withdraw from Kosovo.”

Activist Brajan Brkovic sent a message to Novi Sad Mayor Milos Vucevic that it is not good for Novi Sad to be led by a man who, instead of looking after the city’s development, “develops bank accounts of privileged investors.”

“It is not good when the mayor sees his citizens as white mice. Novi Sad is a typical example of a clash between big capital and ordinary citizens. I appeal on the city authorities not to play with fire because people will happen to them and then no one will be able to help them,” said Brkovic.

Novi Sad Mayor Milos Vucevic said he was horrified by the primitivism of the protesters whom he described as “thugs”.
“They confirmed that we were right all along when we warned that they have nothing to do with ecology, and that the General Urban Plan is just a cover for them to create disorder,” said Vucevic.

“We will not allow violence, we will be a big political family that defends every citizen’s right to think freely,” People’s Party deputy leader Borislav Novakovic said.

The protest was also attended by activists from Belgrade, Zrenjanin and other Serbian cities and by opposition politicians.

It was organized by several non-governmental organizations over the private security and police violence against citizens and activists who protested last week outside the City Assembly against the adoption of the GUP and demanded that their representative be present at the Assembly meeting at which it was to be adopted. NGOs also demand that those responsible for the violence be prosecuted.