Serbian Opposition Protesting Against Recent Surge of Violence Among Youth


BELGRADE (Sputnik) – Political opponents of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the ruling Serbian Progressive Party gathered for a massive protest in Belgrade over the recent escalation of violence in the country, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Friday.

The Democratic Party, the Serbian People’s Party, the Party of Freedom and Justice and a number of other opposition activists urged their supporters and other citizens to participate in a two-hour peaceful march from the Skupstina (the National Assembly) building to the Gazela Bridge.

The protesters planned to block the bridge, which lies on the European route E75, connecting Hungarian capital Budapest with the Greek city of Saloniki, for two hours as demonstration of their intent.

The demands of the protesters included revocation of broadcasting license from two local channels and a ban on TV shows that incite violence and aggression, especially reality shows. Participants also demanded resignation of Education Minister Branko Ruzic, Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic and Director of the Security Intelligence Agency (BIA) Aleksandar Vulin.

Their third demand was an extraordinary session of the Skupstina to determine the Serbian cabinet’s responsibility for the surge of violence in the country.

The organizers later said their demands were partly fulfilled, as an extraordinary session of the Skupstina has been scheduled for May 18 to discuss changes in the Board of Directors of the Regulatory Authority of Electronic Media (REM) and the interior minister’s responsibility.

They also urged the citizens of Belgrade to come out to the next protest set for May 19 in front of the Skupstina building.

Policeman stands in front of the Ribnikar school in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, May 3, 2023. Police say a 13-year-old who opened fire at his school drew sketches of classrooms and made a list of people he intended to target. He killed eight fellow students and a school guard before being arrested Wednesday. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.05.2023

Vucic Calls for Serbia’s ‘Almost Complete Disarmament’ After Back-to-Back Mass Shootings

The protests came amid a recent spike in violence in Serbia among young men. In the night of May 5 to May 6, 21-year old Uros Blazic killed eight people and injured 14 with an automatic gun in the municipality of Mladenovac near Belgrade. He reportedly shot a police officer and his sister, and continued to shoot at random people before he was apprehended by the police.

Two days before that, a seventh-grader shot eight children and a guard and wounded six children and a teacher with a gun in a Belgrade school. The shooter was arrested, but, since he is not yet 14, he is not liable to criminal proceedings. The boy was placed in a psychiatric ward.

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