One of our staff members in Serbia shared with us this text about the protests taking place in Serbia right now. We publish it without the name of the author as (s)he fears repression. 

We have demonstrations in the big cities, again.

The protests are against president Vučić and his government, I emphasize that, because some foreign media are writing that it is because of the announced lockdown in Belgrade in order to prevent spreading the Coronavirus. This is simply not true.

Journalists were attacked by police during protests even though they identified themselves as media. A lot of people were detained. We all suspect that the riots are caused by groups that cooperate with the authorities because the police do not arrest those who throw stones at them, but only citizens who peacefully protest. A young protester shared on social media:

„Anti-government protest in Belgrade are caused by the high level of frustration with government manipulative policies, arrogance, incompetence and lack of transparency in dealing with the pandemic; they were triggered by new COVID-19 curfew in Serbia. The government used not only regular police, but also dogs, police cavalry, and, most importantly, the Special Anti-Terrorist Units (SAJ) against unarmed civilian protesters. Police also used a very strong tear gas provoking suffocating and choking. Some of the protesters found shelter from tear gas in a building nearby the parliament. They used milk to alleviate the unpleasant consequences of tear gas.“

People here are really tired of lies and manipulation, recently the government manipulated even the number of infected and dead due to the virus. For the first two months of the pandemic, they declared a state of emergency and locked up elderly people in their homes, and prohibited everyone else to leave their homes at night and on weekends.

After that, they deliberately reduced the number of infected and dead in order to create the false image that it was safe to hold elections.

They declared victory over the Coronavirus, they allowed football matches with full stadiums, weddings, parties, clubs and public swimming pools reopened – suddenly, no measure was binding anymore, all measures were communicated as „recommendations“.

Now, the truth is slowly coming to light, because there are still investigative journalists and media outlets that have found out the real numbers of infected and dead, which are multiple times higher than those published by the government.

People are dying because of the very bad health care system, there are not enough tests, people are standing on the streets outside hospitals waiting for medical care and most of them are sent home because there are no tests and no medication and – what is most important –  there are not enough medical workers. So everybody is on their own.