[Photo: Sanja Knežević]

 

The European Movement in Serbia expresses deep concerns over the aggravated situation and violent unrests in Serbia in the past two days.

The politicized management of the pandemic in recent months, unanswered suspicions of manipulation of data on the number of patients and deaths caused by COVID-19, as well as shifting the blame to citizens for the crisis, together with not taking into account the pre-election relaxation of  measures, holding elections and organising football matches with 15 thousand spectators, led to the loss of citizens’ trust in the institutions of the system.

The right of citizens to express their dissatisfaction in a peaceful way is their constitutional right and cannot be denied. It represents the pillar of democracy, which has been on a rapid downward path in Serbia for some years now. On the other hand, citizens must be aware of their rights, but also the fact that COVID-19 does not take into account constitutional rights.

Regardless of the background of the protest, violence and its relativization are unacceptable, and respect for human rights and freedom of expression are inviolable.

We demand that the violent responses of the authorities and the excessive use of force against the citizens be urgently sanctioned, as well as any form of violence and aggression whatever the side they come from.

We point out the diminishing, almost non-existent media freedoms, which leave space for numerous conspiracy theories, and also the absence of dialogue as the only instrument for civilized solution finding and elimination of misunderstandings.

The European movement in Serbia points to a worrying direction in which Serbia is going, to the neglect of almost all values ​​that Serbia should cherish and which would place it in the family of democratic countries, as a future member of the European Union. A clear and unambiguous position of the authorities in Serbia when it comes to its European orientation, is necessary and shown in deeds not only in words.

We insist on legal sanctions for all those who employed violence, as well as on the control and prevention of media misinformation about the character of the protests.

It is necessary to clearly present the strategy of the fight against the pandemic to the public, instead of introducing contradictory measures that confuse the citizens.