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News 19 Jun 17

Attacked Serbian Protester Vows To Sue Vucic

A school teacher attacked during Aleksandar Vucic’s swearing-in ceremony has vowed to sue Vucic, after the President publicly showed a photograph of him, suggesting he was a drunk.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Vucic showing the picture at press conference. Photo: Milos Miskov/Beta

A Serbian school teacher, Marko Radosavljevic, who was attacked by private security at a Progressive Party rally during Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s swearing-in ceremony, said he will sue the President for defamation for potentionally leading the public to believe that he is a drunkard.

"It’ll set a precedent, but it seems like an ordinary citizen will have to sue the President himself for defamation! This [country] is bedlam, I tell you," Radosavljevic wrote on his Facebook profile, after Vucic showed a photo of him in public taking a swig out of a bottle.

At a press conference last Thursday Vucic condemned the incidents that happened during the ceremony, but at the same time accused protesters of wanting to cause a "massacre".

He showed a photo of Radosavljevic apparently drinking out of a bottle, and claimed that the man was trying to cause the "gravest incidents" at the rally.

"This is one of the DOS thugs," Vucic said, referring to the former Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition that overthrew Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on October 5, 1999.

However, it is clear from Radosavljevic’s Faceboook profile that the photo was taken during a theatre play in which he was acting.

Radosavljevic himself said that Vucic was "lying without scruples" about him, and using a photo of him playing the role of a drunkard.

"This is definitive proof that this man [Vucic], who is the head of state, with almost absolute power, has a few screws loose!" he wrote on Facebook after the press conference.

A day before Vucic showed his photo, Radosavljevic was targeted by pro-government tabloids. The daily Informer, which is close to Vucic, published six of his private pictures, including the one that Vucic showed the next day.

Radosavljevic, who teaches in an elementary school in Belgrade, told BIRN that he intends to sue all the media that published "fake news" about him.

He says that people commenting on the news have been calling him a "disgrace", a "monster", "unworthy" of being a teacher, and have threatened to "deal with him" if they see him in the street.

"They are spreading misinformation and drawing a target on my forehead. I don’t know if someone on the street will recognize and attack me. This is a brutal media lynch," Radosavljevic said.

He added that Vucic had abused his position as President in order to defame and insult an ordinary citizen.

Serbia’s acting Ombudsman, Milos Jankovic, previously said that private security at the Progressive Party rally had no right to use force against citizens, and announced that he will launch an inspection into the incidents.

"The security should take care that there is no disturbance at the gathering, but in case of incidents, police should be called. Security has no right to use force," Jankovic said, according to Beta news agency.

The Ombudsman added that the police must intervene in case matters get violent but, as was evident from photos, they did nothing to prevent violence.

Several incidents, including attacks on journalists, marked the gathering of Vucic’s supporters outside the Serbian parliament, while he was being sworn in as the new President on May 31.

Some media outlets published photos of ruffians who violently prevented journalists from reporting about other incidents, and linked the attackers with Vucic’s Progressive Party.

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