Mass shooting protests continue in Serbian capital with thousands marching
Protesters gathered in front of the Parliament building before filing by the government’s headquarters and onto a highway bridge spanning the Sava River, where evening commuters had to turn their vehicles around to avoid getting stuck. At the head of the column was a black banner reading “Serbia Against Violence.”
As the demonstrators passed the government buildings, many chanted slogans decrying Serbia’s populist president, Aleksandar Vucic, whom they blame for creating an atmosphere of hopelessness and division in the country that they say indirectly led to the mass shootings.
“We’re here to express a certain kind of rebellion against everything that currently surrounds us, but primarily the violence that occurred in the last … days, and that is all around us in the past years,” Belgrade resident Nevena Matic said.
Pro-government media criticized the bridge blockade, with the Novosti daily newspaper reporting that “harassment has begun, hooligans have blocked the bridge.”
Ahead of the protest, Vucic, who holds nearly all the levers of power, said it amounted to “violence in politics” and the “harassment” of citizens. But he said police wouldn’t get involved “unless people’s lives are in danger.”
The rally came nearly a week after an earlier protest in Belgrade that also drew thousands and demonstrations in smaller towns and cities around the country.
The two shootings happened within two days of each other and left 17 people dead and 21 wounded. On May 3, a 13-year-old boy used his father’s gun to open fire at his school in central Belgrade. The next day, a 20-year-old man randomly fired at people in a rural area south of the capital. (AP)