At an extraordinary press conference, the president of Serbia stated that he had signed the decision to return the passed Law on Amendments to the Law on Expropriation to the National Assembly after determining that the law did not regulate the area adequately, proposed too short deadlines for appeals and was desided upon without a public debate. The Government of Serbia previously withdrew the law on expropriation from the parliamentary procedure, and proposed amendments to four articles of the Law on Referendum.
“All the people’s protest demands have been met”, Vučić stated, announcing that a broad public debate on the content of the new law on expropriation would be held, with the intention of reaching a broad public consensus, as Danas reports.
Protest organizers are celebrating a victory, but they also announce new blockades.
It should be reminded that the withdrawal of the Law on Expropriation and the Law on Referendum were the two main demands of the protest roadblocks on December 4, in which, according to the organizers, about 135,000 people across Serbia participated.
Commenting on the protests in the previous days, Vučić stated that about 35 thousand people took part in them.
Some of the protest organizers stated that they were satisfied with the results of this campaign, while others announced that they would continue with the protests.
Representatives of “Kreni-promeni” announced on social networks that, if Vučić’s promises get formalised on Friday, they wouldn’t call for further blockades and would celebrate the victory in the city squares accross Serbia. Environmental Uprising, however, stated that the protests and blockades will continue until the suspension of the Jadar project:
“Dear friends and comrades, this is an important victory for the citizens, because we forced the government to give up predatory laws by taking to the streets – just as we stopped SHPPs on Stara Planina in recent months and years, curbed the destruction of Bara Reva and prevented the Water Law. However, we are still far from the final victory”, their announcement states, specifying that the Ecological Uprising will call for the continuation of protests and roadblocks if the Assembly of the City of Loznica doesn’t make a decision on deleting the Jadar project from the spatial plan at a session which is to be held no later than December 15, 2021.
The Ecological uprising announced a coordination meeting of activists and associations from 63 minicipalities where blockades were organized last weekend to be held on Thursday, December 9.
The Don’t let Belgrade D(r)own movement announced that the withdrawal of the Law on Expropriation, as well as the announced amendments to the Law on Referendum and People’s Initiative, means a great success for the citizens, but that only a change of government can be considered a true victory.
“The only way to deal with these problems, but also the only way in which we can be sure that projects such as Rio Tinto, Ling Long or Čukaru Peki will be stopped, is to change this government and place people with public interest on their mind to the most important decision-making positions”, Don’t Let Belgrade D(r)own state.
As we wrote earlier, immediately after the last protest, a disagreement arose between the organizers on whether to expand the list of demands: while Nebojša Zelenović from the Open Civic Platform “Action” and representatives of the Ecological Uprising were in favor of demanding a clear waiver of the Jadar project, Sava Manojlović from “Kreni-promeni” most loudly advocated the thesis that the list should not be changed.
Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić
This article was ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in Serbian on Dec 9, 2021.