Two-hour-long roadblocks (from 2 pm to 4 pm) are set to be installed at 53 locations across Serbia today. Activists, primarily environmentalists, as well as all citizens frustrated with the current situation in Serbia, demand the repeal of the Law on Expropriation and amendments to the Law on Referendum and People’s Initiative. The „Serbia is not for sale“ protests were registered on the Peticija.org. app.
Earlier this week, activists of the „Kreni-promeni“ movement presented the terms under which they would suspend roadblocks to the President of Serbia. The petition „STOP the lithium mine! Rio Tinto – March from the Drina!“ (Get lost) was signed by 285,558 people so far.
In protest against the two laws – on referendum and expropriation, thousands of citizens blocked the main roads at several locations in Serbia last Saturday. Protests against the changes in the law were previously held in front of the parliament in Belgrade. Several incidents were recorded at the time, including the one in Sabac, when at the end of the one-hour long blockade, the police withdrew and were replaced by a bulldozer, and a group of young men carrying batons and hammers, who attempted to clear out the road for SNS supporters traveling to Belgrade for a party congress.
At the center of the protest lies the movement against the company Rio Tinto, i.e. the plan to open a lithium mine in Podrinje.
„The support of the Jadar project by the EU at this moment is scandalous. We are not a colony. We will treat Rio Tinto or anyone else as an occupier and anyone who supports this project as a collaborator of the occupiers. See you tomorrow at 2 pm,“ said Savo Manojlovic, the head of the Kreni-Promeni movement.
„Protests are open to everyone. Leftists who are bothered by rightists should make a blockade at another location. Believers who are bothered by atheists should do the same. Those with pro or anti-vaccination views – the same goes for them. There is no First and Second Serbia, on Saturday there will be only one – United and FREE Serbia. Afterward, you can divide yourselves“ – reads one of the main messages of Sava Manojlovic in the past few days.
Several environmental associations, primarily led by “Kreni-promeni” and “Ekoloski ustanak” organizations, announced that roads across the country will be blocked today. The previous roadblock lasted about an hour, while the one announced for today is set to last two.
The action was not cleared by the police, and the Serbian Minister of Police, Aleksandar Vulin, said that the police „will have to use violence“. On the eve of the protests, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced that he will travel to Brezjak, Gornje, Donje Nedeljice, Draginjac to „talk to the people“. The visit is set to take place almost simultaneously with the announced protest blockades throughout Serbia.
Late last night, Savo Manojlovic announced that the residents of these places – members of the movement ‘Ne damo Jadar’ (We don’t give Jadar) refused to meet with the president. Some media outlets then shared alleged details about the preparations made yesterday for today’s visit.
Pro-governmental media in Serbia either do not report on these events or primarily report about the position of the authorities, which are defending Rio Tinto, i.e. the opening of the lithium mine, while accusing protest organizers and participants of working against Serbia’s interests and describing them as „bums“, „hooligans“ and fascists „.
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