Protests have been held in Serbia against the decisions of the authorities, which, according to activists, will lead to environmental devastation and excessive exploitation of the country’s natural resources by foreign investors. As reported by the Serbian daily Danas, thousands of people took part in them.
The largest demonstrations took place in Belgrade, where the protesters blocked the highway passing through the capital for two hours. In Serbia’s second largest city, Novi Sad, the bridge connecting the two banks of the Danube has been blocked. There were smaller protests in more than 50 places in the country.
Serbia. Protests across the country
Activists, opposition politicians and ordinary citizens protested against the “expropriation law” being considered by President Aleksandar Vuczic, which – experts say – will make it easier for the state to seize private real estate. The demonstrators also opposed the cooperation that the government established with the British-Australian concern Rio Tinto, which plans to exploit one of the world’s largest lithium deposits in western Serbia, used, inter alia, for the production of batteries.
“The mine development plan covers an area of more than 2,000 hectares, including 28 villages. Many agreements between the government and Rio Tinto have not been published, which proves the lack of transparency of cooperation and raises suspicions of corruption,” said the petition calling for an end to The activists also point to the disastrous consequences for the environment of the development of mining works in the Drina River region.
Similar protests took place in Serbia on November 27, when demonstrators clashed with police and opponents of the protests. Local media connected people who were brutally involved in suppressing the protests with the ruling Serbian Progressive Party. Its politicians accused the organizers of the demonstrations of trying to destabilize the state and overthrow the current government. Police warned that Saturday’s protests were illegal and that their initiators would face legal consequences.
WATCH TVN24 ON THE INTERNET ON TVN24 GO
President Vuczić announced that after the completion of the research work, a referendum would be organized in which the citizens of Serbia would decide on the future of the mines managed by Rio Tinto.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / ANDREJ CUKIC