Sixth Serbia Against Violence protest under way in Belgrade


Tens of thousands gathered Friday evening in front of the Serbian Parliament building in Belgrade for the sixth Serbia Against Violence protest.

The protest organizers, several opposition parties, announced a new route, which includes a 3 km march through central city streets following which a ring will be formed around the Government headquarters where the protesters will leave messages for state officials.

Weekly Serbia Against Violence protests have been gaining momentum since the beginning of May when Serbia was rocked by two mass shootings, one at an elementary school in Belgrade, the other near the town of Mladenovac, in which 18 people were killed.

Blaming a culture of violence for the deaths, the protesters are demanding the dismissal of interior minister and intelligence agency director, an end to the further promotion of violence in the media and public space, including the disbanding of the Serbian Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM), the revoking of national broadcasting licenses of television stations that promote violence, such as pro-government Pink TV and Happy TV, and the immediate halt of programs that promote violence, immorality and aggression on television stations with national frequencies, such as reality shows.

More than 1000 members of the Serbian academic community lent their support to the weekly Serbia Against Violence protests and demand the fulfillment of protest demands.

“Serbia has been a country which has not had media freedom for an entire decade. Serbia’s public space has been polluted by hatred and violence mainly via national frequencies which are a public resource,” said the academic community, adding that that there has also been no political accountability for a decade.

N1 reporter at the protest said huge crowds people were still arriving at a quarter to seven.