The organisers of the "#1 in 5 million” rallies going on in Belgrade for the last five Saturdays, against what they say is an increasingly autocratic rule of Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, have asked him on Friday to present his plan for the solution of Kosovo problem if he has had one, the Beta news agency reported.
They told Vucic they were those who he should address, not “Brussels, Washington, Moscow or Pristina,” adding in a statement that his policy led to “the withdrawal of Serbia from Kosovo.”
“It’s been eight years since you promised you would cancel everything anyone has signed concerning Kosovo once you come to power. You have been in power for seven years now, and it’s been six years since you have signed the Brussels Agreement and imposed it (on Serbia)," the protesters reminded Vucic.
They blamed the President for “installing criminals (close to him) to rule the no man’s land” after he “withdrew Serbia’s institution from the north of Kosovo.”
“We demand that you stop acting as you own this country and to tell Serbia’s citizens what is your plan for Kosovo and Metohija (Belgrade’s official name for the former province).”
“If you don’t have one, come out and tell people,” the protesters’ statement said.
It asked Vucic “why our country’s stances are decided upon during private lunches with (Kosovo’s President) Hashim Thaci in New York, and not in Serbia’s Parliament?”
“How is it possible for Hashim Thaci to discuss the Kosovo issue in the Parliament, while you avoid talking to your people,” the organisers of the civil "#1 in 5 million" rallies also asked Vucic in the statement on the eve of the next protest scheduled for Saturday.
Belgraders first hit the streets of the capital on December 5, a day after an opposition leader had been severely beaten in the central town of Krusevac before the Alliance for Serbia (SzS), an anti-government grouping held a meeting there.
The first protest against violence in society was held under the “Stop to bloody shirts” slogan after Borko Stefanovic was filmed in an emergency room with his shirt soaked with blood pouring from the back of his head.
The perpetrators were quickly arrested but were released before the 30-day custody expired.
The opposition has not taken over the protest so far though some leaders called on people to join. They walked with the crowd but did not speak, nor there had been any party’s banners or flags during the five rallies so far.
The protest, renamed "#1 in 5 million" after Vucic said he would not cede to the demands “even if five million of you gather”, was growing every Saturday and the list of the requests was getting longer to include the freedom of speech, media freedom, the responsibility for the attacks on journalists, activists and opposition politicians.
Vucic backed down a bit after the third rally in a row saying he would listen to what people had to say, but soon afterwards branded the opposition as “liars who only want to grab power,” adding he would not speak to “those liars.”
Last Saturday the demonstrations spread across Serbia to the central town of Kragujevac, the southern city of Nis, the northern city of Novi Sad and western town of Pozega.
On Thursday night, the protest was held in the southern town of Kursumlija, for the third time despite the cold and heavy snowfall over the previous 24 hours.