The Alliance for Serbia said in an open letter to Serbian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Irinej that his “negative assessment” of the civic protests is “direct interference in daily political issues and open siding with the authorities”.
The open letter was released as a reaction to the Patriach’s speech at the central state commemoration on the 20th anniversary of the start of the NATO air campaign. Irinej said that “what we see on the streets today is not good” and added that it gives strength to “our enemies”.
The Alliance letter said that many people, especially the faithful who are taking part in the protests are offended by his reaction and the lack of understanding for the peaceful and non-violent fight for basic democratic values which are in doubt.
“We do not understand why the topic of your speech on the anniversary of those tragic events were the civic protests. Your negative evaluation of the protests is direct interference in daily political issues and open siding with the authorities which someone in your position should not do because the Church is not owned by the Serbian Progressive Party,” it said.
The Alliance for Serbia said it expected the Patriarch to call the authorities to start a dialogue with the opposition and protest organizers as the only way to solve crises peacefully.
“Your words are interpreted as support for a dictatorial and criminal power,” it said.