Protest #1 in 5 million in southern Serbia gathers several thousand people

Protest #1 in 5 million in southern Serbia gathers several thousand people

Protest #1 in 5 million in southern Serbia gathers several thousand people Izvor: N1

Several thousand people took part in a civil protest in Serbia’s southern city of Nis under the slogan “Stop to terror - #1 in 5 million – Nis without fear” organised by Youth Movement “For Nis Without Fear,” in what seems to be a rise in anti-government rallies in the country, N1 reported.

Like in Belgrade where protests are being held on five Saturdays in a row, people carried national flags, banners reading “You are leaving, we are staying, “Rebellious cities” and blew whistles. No opposition parties’ signs were seen.

Miljan Marjanovic, one of the organisers, said young people flooded the streets unhappy with the situation in their city and Serbia as a whole, announcing new gathering for the next Friday.

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, clearly becoming an anti-government demonstration.

The list of the requests includes the freedom of speech, media freedom, the responsibility for the attacks on journalists, activists and opposition politicians,  and the resignation of the Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic.

Earlier on Friday, the organisers asked Vucic to tell people what his plan for the Kosovo issue was if he had one. 

After the third rally, Vucic backed down a bit 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.

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