Environmental protests with road blockages will be held in at least 30 cities across Serbia, starting on Saturday at 2 pm, Marko Oljaca, one of the organisers, told the FoNet news agency on Thursday, while the police published a special phone number for people to report the places where demonstrators prevent free movements and any case of violence.
That will be the second weekend of protests against the amendments to the Law on Referendum and Expropriation. The environmentalists, NGOs, opposition and experts see them as the authorities’ way to help Rio Tinto ‘Jadar’ project of mining lithium in western Serbia.
The organisers called on people to protest peacefully and on the police to protect them from violent opponents.
Later on Thursday, graffiti calling on people to gather for Saturday’s environmentalist protest appeared on the buildings and pavements in the northern city of Novi Sad.
People are encouraged to join demonstrations against the Expropriation Law and Rio Tinto.
The police called on people to report any obstacle to traffic on Saturday and record licence plates of the vehicles which may take part in blockades on Saturday. They published a special phone number for those and reports on any violence that may occur.
On Monday, the Alliance of Ecological Organisations of Serbia (SEOS) also called on people to join the activists and lawyers in new demonstrations against the laws on referendum and expropriation.
Last Saturday, rallies saw some clashes between the demonstrators and men wearing hoodies and using sticks, hammers and an excavator to disperse the protests. The organisers believe they were sent by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). The police did not react and later detained some of the demonstrators.
Those rallies were held to warn the Parliament not to pass the laws and President Aleksandar Vucic not to sign them.
The MPs adopted the laws, and Vucic signed the Law on Referendum. He said it seemed to him he would sign the other one as well since he had not seen any provision contrary to the Constitution.
After last weekend’s protests, Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said the protests against potential pollution across the country had nothing to do with the environment but was the continuation of hybrid warfare against Serbia and warned that those who organised unauthorised rallies would be held responsible.