Opposition groups and civil society organizations have announced plans to stage anti-government protests in Belgrade on Saturday, April 13, to demand increased freedom of the press, free and fair elections, and the president's resignation. Although specific details of the demonstrations have not been released as of Sunday, March 31, likely rallying sites include the president's residence, National Assembly, Student's Square, the Serbian radio and television (RTS) headquarters, and other prominent government buildings. A heightened security and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated near protest locations. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.
The protest movement, noted by the slogan "#1od5miliona" (#1of5million), began after political opposition leader Borko Stefanović was assaulted by a group of unidentified individuals in November 2018. The demonstrations, ongoing since December 8, have been organized to denounce perceived political abuses of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party and the lack of media freedom in the country, and to demand the resignation of President Vučić.
During the most recent protests on March 16-17, clashes broke out between demonstrators and security forces outside the presidential residence, with police using pepper spray to disperse protesters who attempted to station a truck with loudspeakers near the building. Protesters also stormed and occupied the Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) building to denounce perceived biased reporting.
Individuals in Serbia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate localized traffic disruptions and a heightened security presence near demonstration sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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