For the first of two massive rallies President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) planned for Friday in the northern city of Novi Sad, the police closed the central street for traffic banning any vehicles from the heart of the town and the National Theatre garage,” the 021.rs local media reported.
In what appears to be an answer to the civil anti-government protests which begun in Belgrade on December 8, last year, and spread across the country, Vucic launched his the Future of Serbia campaign two months later, on February 7, organising rallies throughout the country, explaining to people the achievements of his rule and the failures of the previous regime.
Some independent media and locals across Serbia said people were either bussed to the rallies or blackmailed to appear.
In Novi Sad on Friday, the traffic ban was not previously announced, and it was not known until when would it last.
“The buses will park along the boulevards, where it is convenient, in the first right lane to enable traffic to run. The (traffic) police will solve the rest ad hoc,” a City Hall official Aleksandar Kravic told the 021.rs.
Some public companies are included in preparations for the rally that takes place at 6 pm.
It was previously scheduled for Friday, the day when the anti-government protests # 1 in 5 million had been held in Novi Sad for months, but Vucic decided to move it for Thursday to avoid possible violence between two groups of people which he suspected the opposition of wanting to provoke. "Better bend than break," Vucic said.