Heavy equipment arrived at Šodroš, activists continue to call on the authorities to abide to the law and on citizens to protest

As bulldozers arrive at the Novi Sad wetlands, activists gathered around the Ecological Front Novi Sad invite the citizens, as well as the new mayor, to a musical gathering on Saturday, October 29, at the Šodroš Survivor camp, to "sing out of misery".

“People of Novi Sad, come, we have nothing more to lose, and we can still give this city a lot,” said the announcement of the gathering scheduled for Saturday.

“On this occasion, we invite the old punk music fan, the fresh mayor of Novi Sad, Mića Đurić, to join us. When he’s not going to talk to us, let him come to enjoy nature and music, among the citizens. There is currently no safer place in the city where he can appear and present himself among the people, because he will be guarded by the numerous police who he keeps day and night in the forest of Šodroš. The invitation applies to his entire cabinet,” the activists added.

On Wednesday the Ecological Front invited fellow citizens and comrades-in-arms to come to Šodroš and join its defense, as the construction machines that arrived at the location late Wednesday evening were expected to start working soon.

“After the excavator arrived around 7 p.m., we were informed that more machines would arrive tonight at 2 a.m. We expect them to continue the destruction of Šodroš early in the morning! This is the final appeal to the people of Novi Sad to come and talk sense into the authorities with independent experts and activists!”, activists defending the green oasis and Novi Sad’s floodgate announced on social media on October 26th .

The bulldozer that was delivered to Šodros on the 26th  so far hasn’t moved. Activists explicitly stated that they have no intention of damaging the equipment:

“We don’t plan to touch the excavator, so don’t try to invent a set up like the one on Starica mountain near Majdanpek, where local activists were accused of setting fire to the excavator. Park him near those three cameras on the white poplar so that he is safe in the company of the police,” they announced on social networks.

The Novi Sad Ecological Front continues to call on the authorities to listen to the word of the law and the independent urban planners. In the meantime, they say:

“While we wait for that day, let’s try this time with a song. She didn’t harm anyone, didn’t hurt anyone.

Let’s sing out of misery.”

Activists have repeated in the past few days that they are not against the construction of bridges, or even against the construction of the bridge being built at this specific location, but against the way in which it is being built, in terms of non-transparency, non-compliance with master planning, violation of regulations, environmental degradation and imperilment of Novi Sad’s flood control systems.

They pointed out that Serbia ratified the Aarhus Convention in 2009, that is, it adopted the Law on Confirmation of the Convention on the Availability of Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and the Right to Legal Protection in Environmental Matters.

This law provides citizens with the availability of information about the environment, the right to information about environment in the possession of state authorities, the participation of the public in making decisions of importance for the environment, the right of citizens to participate in the development of plans, programs, policies and legislation that can affect the environment, as well as legal protection, i.e. the right of citizens to object in the event that their rights regarding access to information or public participation are violated, explains the Environmental Front Novi Sad.

“Then why is it that neither the old nor the new mayor of Novi Sad will discuss topics related to the environment with interested citizens, when the law obliges them to do so?” If that’s true, then whose mayors are they anyway?”, Novi Sad activists said.


Translation from Serbian: Anastazija Govedarica Antanasijević

This article was ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in Serbian on October 27, 2022.


The Government caters to corporations, violently cracking down on ecological protests in Novi Sad

For dignified cultural employment: “The situation is unsustainable, the Ministry of Culture must urgently call for tenders and settle debts of independent artists”