Serbia: mass protests against gun violence

After two shooting sprees that left a total of 18 people dead, tens of thousands of people have again protested in Belgrade against gun violence, blocking bridges in the city centre and demanding the resignation of high-ranking politicians. The protests are among the largest since the demonstrations that led to the resignation of Slobodan Milošević in 2000. What does this mean for President Vučić and the country?

Der Standard (AT) /

Vučić in trouble

The Serbian president cannot remain indifferent to the mass protests, writes political scientist Vedran Džihić in Der Standard:

“These new mass protests are making Vučić and the government nervous. The increasingly critical coverage of Vučić, his connections to the criminal milieu in Serbia and the character of his regime in renowned Western media such as the New York Times and The Guardian is also increasing the unease at the centre of power. ... Vučić is probably most afraid of the fate that befell Serbia’s former strongman, Slobodan Milošević, in the October Revolution of 2000. The hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets today for a free and normal Serbia will make Vučić even more afraid and angry.”

Vedran Džihić
Jutarnji list (HR) /

Washington won’t drop him yet

The US will continue to support Vučić despite the protests, Jutarnji list believes:

“Although it criticises Vučić, Washington is cautious because it does not know who might succeed him. In Serbia there is no serious liberal-democratic alternative to the current regime. ... The opposition comprises right-wing groups which demand that Serbia ally itself with Russia and send the army into Kosovo, and who consider Montenegro and Republika Srpska as parts of the ‘Serbian world’. So as long as he remains reasonably distant from Russia, the US will not topple Vučić. However, now for the first time he has been told to watch his step, because no one stays in power forever.”

Robert Bajruši (HR) /

Escalation possible

Vučić is counting on counter-protests by his supporters with doubtful chances of success, Telegram explains:

“Opposition to his regime is growing exponentially, led by the pro-European opposition. This naturally worries him, which is why, after all the attempts to disperse or assuage the discontent, he has announced counter-protests for next Friday that are expected to rival the biggest counter-protests of the Milošević era. But even that didn’t help Milošević when his time was up. ... Now anything is possible, from Vučić calling early elections for September to an escalation of the situation.”

Dragan Markovina