Thousands if not tens of thousands took part in protests May 8, following mass shootings that killed 17 persons in Serbia last week, with calls for the resignation of government officials followed by a gun “amnesty” to encourage Serbs to turn in weapons.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic immediately sided with the victims and their families, following last week’s school massacre and drive by, but this week he criticized protests—specifically pointing to the opposition whom he claimed was attempting to co-opt the tragedy to weaken his government.
“I will never back down to the mob,” he said on national TV.
That said, there is no doubt that the Vladislav Ribnikar primary school massacre, during which as 13-year-old, Kosta K., attempted to follow a premeditated plan to kill a list of students a the school, as well as the drive-by committed by 20-year-old, U.B., who was armed with an automatic weapon and pistol, has left Serbians in shock.
But again, this is not to say that Vucic has not shown sympathy for the victims. The president, who previously harped on the need for stricter gun control laws, also upped police presence in schools and backed a 30-day amnesty on illegal weapons, which saw reportedly 1,500 turned in on the first day.
Also—and even though Vucic ruled out an immediate government reorganization—his Cabinet has already taken a hit, Education Minister Brako Ruzic having resigned from his position in the wake of the killings.
Yet this may not be enough to placate an angry populace, who have called for the resignation of the minister of the interior, the head of the secret services and who have also pointed their anger at Serbian media for promoting violence.
Photo by PIXSELL, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.