For many, this was the last straw: when the power wanted to reconfiner, thousands of Serbs took to the streets to protest against a management considered inconsistent of the pandemic.
What has been the trigger of this anger in this country of the Balkans, which identifies officially 370 dead from the COVID-19? Is it of a nature to shake the strong man for 2012, Aleksandar Vucic, whose opposition and NGOS have denounced the authoritarianism?
Why these protests ?
The Serbs were bent on the containment strict initially imposed on the advice of chinese experts. But Tuesday, an hour after the announcement by Aleksandar Vucic that they would remain locked up from Friday to Monday, thousands of Belgrade took to the streets, infuriated by the inconsistency of the authorities.
To two months of confinement was followed by a period of total liberation: football matches with thousands of spectators, tournament, exhibition organized by Novak Djokovic, since positive…
For many, Aleksandar Vucic has downplayed the scale of the pandemic and claimed a “victory against the virus,” to be able to hold the legislative elections of 21 June, boycotted by the opposition, who have turned to the plebiscite for his party.
During the campaign, the authorities announced a death daily, or even zero. The day after the election, the numbers are increasing again. Several ministers, who had openly celebrated the victory were then announced to be positive… “We has had enough of the manipulations of the digits of the Covid-19”, said a protester Danijela Ognjenovic, 52 years of age.
To make matters worse, Aleksandar Vucic has culpabilisé its citizens: “We relaxed too much, we have made many errors, and the individual responsibility of each of us is committed.”
That manifesto ? That causes the violence ?
The crowds are very diverse in Belgrade but also in various cities of the province, without leadership identified. Parade of young people, families but also citizens waving crosses and icons, anti-vaccines, etc, From the left to the extreme right passing through the disappointed of the political spectrum ideological is represented.
Violence erupted Tuesday when a group of protesters came into force in the Parliament, and then Wednesday and then again Friday evening.
If he has waived the curfew of the weekend, Alexandar Vucic has denounced the action of “hooligans”.
The protesters accuse them of “agents provocateurs” infiltrated by the authorities to have it escalate the protests to discredit and denounce the police violence.
The power of Vucic can it be shaken ?
Strong man of Serbia since 2012, this former minister of Slobodan Milosevic is a former ultranationalist who has reinvented in the responsible centre-right wishing to join his country to the european Union.
He is in control of the institutions. The major media, especially television, are acquired, with the exception of N1, the beast, black. On the evening of the first event, the national broadcaster RTS was chosen to show a movie of Jackie Chan.
For the NGO, Freedom House, Serbia is no longer a democracy because of this stranglehold of power over the media space.
The opposition, laminated for years, is now absent in Parliament.
As a result, “it is in the street that leads to the political struggle,” says political commentator Boban Stojanovic.
But experience shows that “the government can tolerate months of peaceful protests, ( … ) as long as he can control the discourse in the media”, according to journalist Nemanja Rujevic.
The events “private ideological aims that are clear, tend to be intense but brief,” says Bosko Tripkovic, a professor at the university of law in Birmingham. The protesters have neither leadership or list of demands” in the absence of the opposition parties, overwhelmed by the movement.
The situation can alienate the support of Europe to Vucic ?
If she regularly comes to the failures in terms of fight against corruption or independence of the judiciary, the EU is evidence of sympathy for a man she considers as the guarantor of the stability of the country and the key to a resolution of the conflict with Kosovo, which Belgrade does not recognize the independence. It was received this week by the French president Emmanuel Macron on this record, one of the conflict’s most sensitive in Europe.
Without the explicit, Aleksandar Vucic has hinted that “foreign influence” could be behind the demonstrations. One of the tabloids that is due to him, Kurir, referred specifically to Russia. A way for the power to refresh its commitment to the EU that he had not spared in the beginning of the pandemic for the benefit of the “chinese brothers”.