A session of the assembly of Loznica was held urgently, following a statement by the Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić that a decision on the abolition of the city Spatial Plan will be made at it, N1 reports.
The Spatial plan of the city of Loznica, voted in July, is one of the documents that legally enabled the implementation of the Rio Tinto company’s “Jadar” project. The civic association “NE damo Jadar”, which belongs to the Association of Environmental Organizations of Serbia (SEOS), submitted an initiative to the Loznica Assembly in early November to remove the Special Purpose Area Spatial Plan for the “Jadar” project from the City Spatial Plan, writes Balkan Green Energy News. The deadline for deciding on the initiative, which was signed by over 5,000 citizens, was two months.
The decision to repeal the Spatial Plan was made today without prior discussion and without votes against it.
Environmental organizations and activists welcomed the abolition of the Spatial Plan. Still, they demanded more decisive measures and more reliable indicators that there will in fact be no lithium mine in Loznica from the authorities. As Miroslav Mijatović from the Podrinje Anti-Corruption Team (PAKT) pointed out for Balkan Green Energy News, the decree of the Government of Serbia on the Special Purpose Area Spatial Plan for the “Jadar” project is still in force. He expressed fear that the Spatial Plan will be returned to force after April’s elections and demanded the abolition of the disputed Special Purpose Area Spatial Plan.
Ljiljana Bralović, from the association “Suvoborska greda” based in Gornji Milanovac, also suspects that today’s turn of events is a matter of tactics. She told the same media that yesterday Rio Tinto bought the land of six households.
In order to stop Rio Tinto from building mines in Serbia, environmental activists are demanding a veto on lithium mining and similar harmful projects. As the Environmental Uprising movement announced in a statement yesterday, the roadblocks during the past weekends have shown results, and the citizens have shown their power, but the ultimate goal has not been achieved yet:
“We do not believe the word of those who trampled on it a hundred times before. Therefore, we demand from the Government of Serbia to annul all administrative acts, location permits, and decisions signed with Rio Tinto on behalf of the citizens of Serbia, in order to formally and legally expel Rio Tinto from our country”.
Environmental activists also announced that they would not give up protest and called on the citizens to gather once again next Saturday, December 18 at 2 pm, in front of the seat of the Government of Serbia.
As Mašina wrote earlier, during the previous three weekends, roadblocks were successfully organized throughout Serbia, demanding the annulment of the Law on Referendum and People’s Initiative and withdrawal from the procedure of the Law on Expropriation, which is considered to have been passed to enable confiscation of the land Rio Tinto needed to build the mine.
Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić
This article was ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in Serbian on Dec 16, 2021.