As it has become a regular event, people in the several cities gathered on Thursday night in #1 in 5 million protests against President Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) rule, and for the first time the most of the speakers were opposition politicians, N1 reported.
Following last Saturday’s incidents when demonstrators led by the nationalist Dveri movement leader Bosko Obradovic stormed the state RTS TV building and the police arrested several people they said caused violence, the opposition leaders became more visible and active during the demonstrations across the country.
What started as a spontaneous civil protest after the beating of one of the opposition leaders in November, in which politicians took part but publicly kept a low profile, started to get a shape of overall dissatisfaction with the current regime.
Observers have been saying the protests might fade out unless politicians take the lead. They, on the other hand, were waiting for an opportunity fearing the reaction by protesters since some of them had been in power and disappointed many of those demonstrators.
However, in the last several days, the opposition leaders and politicians addressed the crowds and were accepted.
On Thursday night the rallies were held in the northern town of Zrenjanin, central towns of Trstenik and Topola, eastern place of Knjazevac, the southern place of Kursumlija…
Addressing the crowd in Trstenik, Obradovic said the blockage of streets and schooling were allowed in the fight against the dictator (Vucic) whom he called “the biggest coward who let police on demonstrators and arrest children for staying in power. Obradovic reiterated that Belgrade rally would take place on April 13 if the regime did not meet the demand to step down by then.
The gatherings were, as they had been every time so far, peaceful and without a single incident.
After Saturday’s and Sunday’s (when Belgraders surrounded the Presidency building during Vucic new conference to prevent him from leaving the office) incidents, Vucic reiterated that “no violence will be tolerated.”
On the other hand, the opposition and protest’s activist blamed violence on the police after they came to the RTS building on Saturday night and forcibly moved people by pushing and dragging them out.
Later, some protesters were arrested, some sentenced to 30-days imprisonment, among whom an 18-year-old teenager, but after an appeal, the higher court set all of them free following Vucic’s public plea for their release.
Earlier, the opposition and protests’ organisers gave Vucic and the Government 30-day deadline to resign and in case they don’t, a massive rally in Belgrade was called for April 13.
People from across the country were invited to come to the capital and join the protest.
On October 5, 2000, a similar protest in Belgrade gathered hundreds of thousands of people, and after sporadic clashes with the police, they stormed the RTS building and the then Federal Parliament.
That was the last day of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic's 15-year-long rule of Serbia and the rump Yugoslavia.