1683929902 After mass murders in Serbia demonstrators block the Belgrade highway

After mass murders in Serbia, demonstrators block the Belgrade highway

Blocking of a highway in Belgrade in protest after two mass killings, May 12, 2023. Blocking of a highway in Belgrade in protest after two mass killings, May 12, 2023. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

Tens of thousands of protesters blocked a Belgrade highway on Friday, May 12, to demand the resignation of senior officials and the regulation of violent content in the media following two mass killings. Serbs had already protested in large numbers on Monday after shootings had caused fear and terror in the small Balkan country last week.

Several opposition parties from left to right called for the demonstration after seventeen people, including eight school children, were killed in two shootings less than 48 hours apart in Belgrade.

The protesters are calling for the licenses of TV channels that air violence to be revoked and for a ban on pro-government newspapers that they say vulgar articles about dissonant voices are fueling tensions. They are also demanding the resignation of Serbia’s Interior Minister and the head of the secret service, and are calling for an extraordinary session of Parliament to discuss the authorities’ response.

disarmament plan

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic calls the protests a “political” coup. “They plan their protests during national mourning for the sole purpose of violence and violent seizure of power,” he said on television. The head of state announced a demonstration of his support for May 26, which he said will be “the largest gathering in the history of Serbia”.

After the murders, the Serbian President promised a large-scale disarmament plan for the population. According to the Small Arms Survey research project, 39% of people in Serbia own a firearm, the highest percentage in Europe.

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