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News 10 May 13

Thousands of Serbs Protest Against the Brussels Agreement

Several thousand people assembled in Belgrade’s main square, accusing Serbia’s top leaders of high treason for the recent EU brokered-deal with Kosovo. 

Nemanja Cabric BIRN Belgrade
Poster produced by far right organization SNP Nasi depicted Vucic, Dacic and Nicolic wearing traditional Albanian plis hats.

Organised by leaders from Serb-run northern Kosovo, the Orthodox Church and several right-wing groups, the protest took aim at Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Ivica Dacic.

“Treason! Treason” many in the crowd in Belgrade’s Republic Square shouted, as protesters waved Serbian flags and signs with messages, including  “We will free Kosovo”  and  “I want Moscow, not Brussels.”

One poster depicted Vucic, Dacic and Nikolic - former leaders on the far right who now embrace an EU-centred agenda - wearing traditional Albanian plis hats.

Others symbolically ripped apart copies of EU-brokered agreement between Serbia and Kosovo.

The deal, reached on April 19, granted Serb-run communities limited autonomy but placed them under the auspices of Kosovo’s laws and constitution. Leaders from Kosovo and Serbia have yet to reach an agreement over an implementation plan. Kosovo Serbs, though, have come across strongly against the deal, calling it tacit recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

“We only ask to live normally like other people from Kraljevo, Vranje and Kragujevac,“ said Zvonimir Mihajlovic, mayor of Strpce, in southern Kosovo.

 

“They ask from us to shut down institutions that Albanian terror did not manage to eliminate, to accept Hashim Thaci as a premier, Bajram Rexhepi as  [interior] minister,“ he added.

The Mayor of Zubin Potok, Slavisa Ristic, said it was a “holy cause” for Kosovo to stay in Serbia.

“We came here to ask for your support. A greater number of Serbian people could not come, fearing they must stay home to guard and defend the doors of Kosovo for Serbia,” Ristic told the crowd.

The Serbian Orthodox Church's top cleric in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije, led prayers, saying that Kosovo - which the church’s holiest sites are located - stay inside the borders of Serbia.

People at the protest

“Kosovo is the destiny of this people,“ Amfilohije said.

“I am confident that Serbia and its authorities will rise up and fight under god.”

Protesters also demanded that the Serbia’s constitutional court issue rulings about the constitutionality of the recent agreement with Kosovo and other prior agreements, threatening to call for a national referendum if the court doesn’t respond.    

Another protest against the Kosovo deal is set for June 28 - which is Vidovdan, the Serbian Orthodox holiday commemorating the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.

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