Serbia: Anti-violence protest, Vucic rally held in parallel


Two large gatherings were held at the same time in the Serbian capital Belgrade and the nearby town of Pancevo, bringing together regime opponents and supporters.

A huge crowd gathered in front of the Serbian parliament for the third anti-violence protest initially organized by some opposition parties following the mass shootings in a Belgrade elementary school and two village outside the town of Mladenovac. Observers said that this was the biggest gathering yet to demand the accountability of the authorities for the two shootings.

A smaller crowd gathered in Pancevo to hear President Aleksandar Vucic speak about the topics he customarily covers in his public addresses: Kosovo, his opponents and his view of the attitude of the international community towards Serbia. An N1 reporter said that there were 2-3,00 people at the King Peter Square in Pancevo.

Vucic said he is very worried about the situation in Kosovo. “I will not allow you to destroy Serbia and you won’t get an independent Kosovo,” he said. The president accused the opposition of abusing the mass shootings tragedy for their own political purposes and of wanting to win power without elections. “That won’t happen! You come to power in elections, not with violence,” he said during his half-hour speech.

According to local media, the crowd in Pancevo were mainly people bused in to the town, a method regularly used by Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) for its rallies.