The director of the 'Go – Change' Campaign Savo Manojlovic, one of the most prominent environmentalists behind the withdrawal and changes to two controversial lawssaid to have favoured Rio Tinto's plan to mine lithium in western Serbia, said on Thursday he would not run for the country's president.
Manojlovic said he always kept his word and confirmed his organisation would not participate in the forthcoming Saturday’s protests, the fourth in a row, called for by other environmentalists.
He supported them but said ‘Go – Change’ two aims – the withdrawal of the Law on Expropriation and changes to the Law on Referendum – were reached, which was the reason to stop the protests.
The other environmentalists said they would continue with demonstrations „until Rio Tinto is expelled from Serbia.“
Manojlovic said President Aleksandar Vucic called him during the protest, but he rejected the calls from a number he did not recognise.
„Then,“ he said, „I got an SMS saying it was Vucic, and we spoke.“ He wanted to know if the protests would stop because the demands would be accepted. I said they would,“ Manojlovic said.
He announced his further move would be to organise volunteers to collect 30,000 signatures to „submit the motion to the Parliament to ban lithium mining“ in Serbia.
„Parliament must discuss within a precise deadline. We want to use that chance, and we’ll prepare the proposal with legal and ecology experts to see what is the best way to suggest a lithium mining ban,“ Manojlovic told the Belgrade Vreme weekly’s Thursday edition.
Speaking to another weekly NIN, he said he did not participate in negotiations about the forthcoming elections, nor would he be a candidate.
„A part of (the opposition) Free Serbia Assembly negotiates the elections, but I don’t. I respect the people from the Assembly and wish them all the best in elections,“ Manojlovic said, adding he was not so active in the organisation anymore.
He said he promised people who supported the requests they had nothing to do with politics and intended to keep his word.