The Party of Serbia’s Macedonians joined many other opposition parties and movements which strongly condemned relentless attacks on a national basis after a former paramilitary leader slammed a deputy leader of the Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP) Mariniika Tepic, for her ethnic roots.
Dragoljub Bokan, a leader of the ‘White Eagles’ paramilitary during the 1990s, appeared live on the pro-regime TV Pink, saying Tepic was a member of a national minority that hated Serbia and the Serb people.
The Macedonian party added its full support for Tepic and called on the international community to react to what it said was an apparent lack of the rule of law in Serbia and the devastation of the country’s institutions.
Later on Tuesday, Bokan again spoke to the pro-regime Pink TV, explaining he did not want to offend the Romanian people but again insulted Tepic, describing her as „a degenerate of the Romanian people,“ adding some spun his previous statement.
President Aleksandar Vucic also commented on Bokan’s attack. He denounced Tepic as a „liar“ and said that „there is nothing she did not do against our state“, but added that it was a shame that someone attacked her because she belonged to another nation.
„I absolutely condemn any insults on a national basis. I adore Romanians, Ukrainians, Bosniaks and Hungarians, and I do not allow anyone to attack someone because they are Romanian or Serb. I will always, everywhere, in every place, express disagreement with that, condemn every hate speech,“ Vucic said after visiting the works on the construction of the Belgrade Underground System Depot.
Serbia’s Commissioner for Protection of Equality also condemned Bokan’s attack on Tepic.
„It is extremely inappropriate, discriminatory and forbidden by law to link anyone’s national and ethnic affiliation with the work they are doing,“ Brankica Jankovic told N1.
On Monday, a group of opposition parties warned that Tepic, who topped their joint election ticket for the 2022 spring vote, was “publicly denounced as an enemy of the state” for her national origin.
The National Council of Romanians also condemned „hate speech of any kind, especially by a leader of the paramilitary group ‘White Eagles’ about the Romanian people.“
Several opposition parties also protested Bokan’s speech. The League of Vojvodina’s Social-democrats (LSV), leader Nenad Canak, said Bokan should be in prison, not on a TV.
“Marinka Tepic has been daily exposed to attacks and lies masterminded by (Serbia’s President) Aleksandar Vucic’s campaign team, but that declaring her as an enemy of the state is the pinnacle of dishonesty,” the opposition parties said.
The Civil Reversal movement called on the state prosecutors to urgently react to “the crime against the Constitutional order and security.”
Tepic also announced criminal charges for inciting racial, religious and national hatred.