After the shootings of 3 and 5 May which left 18 victims, Serbia is still in shock. And a powerful citizens’ movement is organizing to denounce the violence that plagues the country to the highest peak of the state. The power, he is trying to organize a counter-fire this Friday, May 26, before a new day of protest.
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It is a mobilization such as Serbia had not known for a long time. In recent weeks, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Belgrade, three times, ” against violence “.
The vase overflowed after the two tragedies that bereaved the country at the beginning of the month. On May 3, a 13-year-old boy killed nine students and a guard in his school, French-speaking, in the center of Belgrade. Less than 48 hours later, a young man of 21 shot eight people in villages close to Mladenovac, in the distant southern outskirts of the capital.
This powerful post-traumatic movement is reminiscent of the one that took place just twenty years after the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić on March 12, 2003. Some even compare the potential energy that emanates from it to that which prevailed at the eve of the revolution of October 5, 2000, the day of the fall of the authoritarian regime of Slobodan Milošević.
” Teach us to love »
Each time, the crowd is stronger: last Friday, it’s a real human tide which invaded the streets of the capital. The crowd dispersed only very late at night after tirelessly calling for the revocation of the licenses of the channels that broadcast violent programs, the banning of pro-regime tabloids accused of stoking tensions and the resignation of the Minister of the Interior and the head of the intelligence services.
If several opposition parties and a union organize the mobilization, none of their insignia is visible in the ranks of the demonstrators. Rare Serbian flags protrude from the heads and some placards, on which one can read: Teach us to love ” Or “ Stop violence in newspapers, on television, at school, at home, in the street “.
Opposite, the authorities respond with contempt, sweeping away the claims out of hand. For President Aleksandar Vučić, these demonstrations would be a “ grief recovery » and a knock « policy organized by the hyenas of the opposition who would like to take power violently “. Rather than posing as a unifier, the strong man from Belgrade prefers to play the card of divisions and promises for this May 26, in the evening, the gathering of his supporters “ the largest in the history of Serbia “.
Inversion of values
” Our society is sick. There has been an inversion of values for at least three decades observes sociologist Jovo Bakić. ” Crime and corruption plague Serbia, trickling from the highest peak of the state. The links between the president and his relatives with the hooligans who control drug trafficking are very worrying. “And to insist:” Serbia lives in a permanent state of stress, which is maintained by the Head of State himself, the better to pose as the only savior. »
During the 1990s, Aleksandar Vučić was Slobodan Milošević’s very young Minister of Information, a key position in learning how to manipulate public opinion. A quarter of a century later, the one who controls Serbia with an iron fist applies the same methods, which consist above all in scaring people. ” It feels like living in a country at war observes anthropologist Ivan Čolović. ” Our leaders keep repeating that we are threatened, that we are surrounded by neighbors who want to destroy us. To defend oneself, one must therefore arm oneself. »
” Serbian society is steeped in violence, starting with what we see in the stadiums or in political life. Accumulated for so long, this violence ended up exploding, like an ulcer perforating the stomach “continues Ivan Čolović. ” After all these deaths, we can’t just say “that’s life”. It is worth taking measures so that it does not happen again. »
” Catharsis is needed »
” The weapons that have killed in recent weeks were loaded in the 1990s », Laments for her part Jovica Milisavljević who teaches physics in a high school close to the Vladislav Ribnikar school. ” Very affected “, the fifties went to lay flowers there with his students. ” I believe that the mobilization against the violence that we are witnessing is also important because we need to collectively share our pain. After these tragedies, a catharsis is needed. »
While the few independent media believe that Serbia is at a perhaps historic turning point, the newspapers and channels controlled by the increasingly authoritarian regime of Aleksandar Vučić present an alternative reality. The public radio-television treats the mobilization very summarily while the tabloids ostensibly ignore it, preferring to emphasize “ the unprecedented violence “rare demonstrators” drugs ” And ” manipulated by foreign services “.
As political science professor Rade Veljanovski sums it up, “ Serbia seems to have returned to the 1990s “. When the outrageous propaganda of Slobodan Milošević reigned and the opposition sharpened its weapons.