Serbia: mass protests against Vučić

For the second Saturday in a row, tens of thousands of Serbs demonstrated with road blockades across the country against new legislation planned by President Vučić - despite brutal violence used against them. The legislation will facilitate the expropriation of private land for large infrastructure projects and would give the Rio Tinto corporation access to the huge lithium deposits near the town of Loznica.

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Peščanik (RS) /

He can dish it out but he can't take it

The demonstrators are exercising their right to defend themselves against the government's insults, Peščanik puts in:

“Every day, verbal violence erupts distorted from the screen and screams from the front pages of the tabloids. Our ruler treats people who think differently as enemies, and the enemy is not even a second-class citizen. He doesn't talk, he threatens. All his violations of the constitution are also violations of human dignity. The people don't have any possibility to respond to him in kind. Their only option is to gather and protest. ... All public officials must be able to endure the harshest criticism, including when it comes straight from the people's mouths. The people, however, are not obliged to do the same, and yet they have been enduring it for almost a decade.”

Danas (RS) /

The worst is yet to come

Danas is alarmed by the ruthlessness of the president's supporters:

“The full horror of the violence, which seems to be only just beginning given what happened with earlier blockades, will be felt above all by the bravest. In the small, rural communities they enjoy no protection from the revenge of those on the side of the regime. ... These supporters bring out torches and throw them at demonstrators, drive cars right into them, bludgeons and hammers fall out of their hoodies, and then they flee the scene in official vehicles. This violence is not just the moment of the punch that may be caught on camera. It comes right into our homes, fridges, school desks and hospital beds.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Hooligans swiftly exposed

This time even President Vučić's thugs could not prevent the protests, Večernji list writes in praise:

“This time the regime refrained from using its tried-and-tested recipe of provoking police violence. Instead, there were obscure groups that attempted to compromise the protests on the regime's orders, but didn't succeed. The demonstrators fought back in an organised manner against the regime's thugs, excluding them from their ranks. This was also filmed and shown so that everyone could see exactly how the hooligans operated. This is good news for the demonstrations and their credibility and a major defeat for Vučić and his propaganda machine.” (HR) /

Vučić has grossly miscalculated

These protests could be the beginning of the end of the Vučić regime, Telegram comments:

“In the end Vučić miscalculated, because he did not expect mass demonstrations by citizens who look on as their land and health are taken away from them. ... In a nutshell, what he's dealing with here is a broad-based uprising which the opposition has now joined. Or rather, an uprising by people who are willing to persevere and blockade the whole country and are not afraid of the regime's thugs, who are a new factor in the whole equation. ... Vučić has miscalculated so badly that he has forgotten how violence against mass demonstrations ends in Serbia: in defeat and a fall from power. It's only a matter of time.”