2017 Serbian protests

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2017 Serbian protests
Part of Serbian presidential election, 2017
2017 serbia protest symbol.svg
Symbol of 2017 Serbian protest against dictatorship depicting Aleksandar Vučić's hand gesture
Date3 April – 31 May 2017
Caused by
MethodsDemonstrations, civil disobedience, civil resistance
Resulted inProtests failed
Parties to the civil conflict

Anti-government protesters;

  • "Against Dictatorship" civic movement
  • Civilian and student protesters
Lead figures
Unknown Aleksandar Vučić

up to 20,000 in Belgrade,[1]

10,000+ in Novi Sad[2] 3,000+ in Niš[3]

The 2017 Serbian protests against perceived dictatorship were ongoing mass protests organized across Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and other cities and towns in Serbia, against Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, as a result of the presidential election. The election was marred by accusations of voter intimidation and a near total domination of Serbia's media by Vučić and his populist conservative Serbian Progressive Party.[4] The protests started on 3 April and thousands of people had been gathering on the streets of Serbia's cities on a daily basis. They informed themselves via official Facebook protest pages.


The leading participants were university students, however on Saturday, 8 November, they were joined by the police syndicate, the army syndicate, taxi drivers, lawyers, postal office workers and other organizations who are protesting against the president-elect's authoritarian regime.

Protests erupted on 3 April when Nemanja Milosavljević, member of the hip hop group Middle Finger Kru under the stage name German, posted an event called Protest Against Dictatorship 2017 saying "Sloba also won an election, remember that", referring to the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević.[5] On the first day, media reported up to 10.000 participants. Popular chants included "Vučić, you fag" and "Av av av" (Vučić's initials, also represents a barking sound).[6] A group of protesters threw eggs at the National Assembly building and a makeshift wall displaying victims of the Kosovo War called the Serbian Wailing Wall was severely damaged causing public outrage.[7]

During the 8 April protest, according to president of the Army union, there were more than 80.000 people in Belgrade walking against dictatorship.[8] A set of demands have been presented to endorse a democratization of the country, including measures to limit and oversee the President-elect's firm control.[9] Portestors also demand independent monitoring and a new assessment of the recent presidential election, with responsibility to be shouldered by "those responsible for any irregular campaign, as well for [any] irregularities during voting and counting." They also called for all "corrupt public officials" to quit, and for all media editors not respecting the press code to be held accountable.[10]

Protester holding Lord Acton's quote, referring to Aleksandar Vučić's absolute power

On 11 April, protests were joined by NKPJ and left-wing union "Sloga". They protested against "bad situation of worker class" and against expulsion of their members from one Kruševac factory.[11]

The largest protest so far was on 12 April. The protesters have called for a break due to the Easter in the demonstrations; the deadline for their ultimatum to the government was 17 April. Since their demands were not fulfilled, the demonstrations are continued after the Easter holidays.[12] The media reported that there is a possibility of protest radicalization by blocking the major city streets, bridges and universities.[13]

On 1 May, several thousand members of unions and left-wing parties, including New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, protested on International Workers' Day and supported the student protests. They protested against worker law and the International Monetary Fund, and for higher pay and better workers rights. In the meantime, the union "Sloga" also protested in Kruševac.[14]

On 31 May, the day of Vučić inauguration, there was opposition protest, as well the pro-government rally. There were large number of incidents on government rally, including attacks on journalists and anti-government protesters by SNS supporters and, so called, party parapolice members.[15] On opposition protest were few thousand people from Belgrade, and on government rally was 10 000 people from entire Serbia.[16][17]


Protests were held without formal organization and leadership. Anyone could participate in deciding and voting via a Facebook group concerning next steps of protests. Walking routes were posted on the Facebook page and discussed on the spot. Due to a decline in number of people walking and "loss of meaning", group of protesters in Belgrade made a separate faction called "With Culture Against Dictatorship" which will continue in protesting.[18] Another fraction called "Seven Demands" has been formed. An informal group of students dissatisfied with protesters who expressed a will to cooperate with the opposition in achieving the protest goals broke out of main group. They stated their will to pursue action for "Seven Demands" but without implications for political parties and politicians.[19] In early May, a faction "Against Dictatorship" announced via their official Facebook page that they would protest once a week instead of every day.[20]

Protests in Niš[edit]

Protests broke out on 3 April.[21] A few thousand protesters spontaneously gathered at Trg Kralja Milana to support the Belgrade protest which had been held earlier that day. On 5 April, at National Theatre in Niš, plato protesters announced a set of demands,[22] the same as those in Belgrade. On the same day, protesters had been throwing eggs at a billboard from Aleksandar Vučić's presidential election campaign.[22] On 13 April, protesters set local demands including stronger budgetary control of institutions, introduction of participatory budgeting at the municipal level, criminal prosecution of corrupt judicial officials, fiscal transparency, and stopping nepotism.[23] On 17 April, protesters began funny chants towards the controversial[24] disability pension of city major Darko Bulatović.[25] On 18 April, protesters organized a performance by giving away fake PhD degrees to citizens,[26] referring to plagiarism affairs involving public officials in Serbia.[27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "In Serbia, tens of thousands of people protesting against the President of Serbia". The Newspapers. 8 April 2017. Archived from the original on 10 April 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Ево колико времена "Против диктатуре" дају Вучићу да испуни захтеве (In Serbian)". Pravda. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Nekoliko hiljada Nislija na protestu(In Serbian)". Juznevesti. 30 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  4. ^ "A Serbian Election Erodes Democracy". The New York Times. 9 April 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  5. ^ "KO STOJI IZA PROTESTA KOJI DRMAJU BEOGRAD? Da li je u pitanju ovaj MLADI dečko? (FOTO) (VIDEO)". espreso.rs. espreso.rs. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  6. ^ P., A.; M., Z. "Više od 10.000 mladih protestuje protiv diktature". danas.rs. Danas. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Sramota: Pijani demonstranti uništili "Srpski zid plača" ispred Skupštine (FOTO) (VIDEO)". telegraf.rs. Telegraf.rs. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  8. ^ "NOVICA ANTIĆ: Na protestu u Beogradu je bilo više od 80.000 ljudi". Kurir.rs. 19 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  9. ^ Da Silva, Chantal (8 April 2017). "Serbian protesters accuse media of turning blind eye, as anti-corruption rallies continue". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Serbia Protests: Thousands Demand Vucic's Resignation". Balkan Insight. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "Uskršnja pauza u protestima do 18. aprila | Mondo Portal". Mondo.rs. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  13. ^ 15. aprila 2017. 12.00 (21 March 2020). "Moguće blokade saobraćajnica, fakulteta, mostova... - Politika - Dnevni list Danas". Danas.rs. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  14. ^ 01. maja 2017. 23.44 Izmenjeno: 16. januara 2018. 10.49 (21 March 2020). "Radnici MMF-u složno rekli odlazi - Ekonomija - Dnevni list Danas". Danas.rs. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  15. ^ 31. maja 2017. 16.09 (21 March 2020). "Napadnuto više novinara (VIDEO) - Društvo - Dnevni list Danas". Danas.rs. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  16. ^ "ZATVOREN CENTAR GRADA Bez saobraćaja od Pravnog fakulteta do Terazijskog tunela, uskoro NOVE BLOKADE". Blic.rs. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  17. ^ "ZAVRŠEN KONTRAMITING Nekoliko hiljada građana prošetalo uz opoziciju, zabeležen i jedan incident". Archived from the original on 3 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  18. ^ Insajder (15 May 2020). "Podele u studentskom protestu: Grupa "Kulturom protiv diktature" pokreće svoje akcije". Insajder (in Croatian). Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  19. ^ Insajder (15 May 2020). "Grupa "Sedam zahteva" na protestima će zahtevati smenu politike, ne samo političke elite". Insajder (in Croatian). Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Protest "Protiv diktature" jednom do dva puta nedeljno | N1 Srbija". Rs.n1info.com. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  21. ^ satelit (3 April 2017). "Одржан протест и у Нишу, народ најављује да не одустаје, протести се настављају и сутра". Србија Данас (in Serbian). Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Nekoliko hiljada Nišlija ponovo na ulicama, sada sa konkretnim zahtevima : Društvo : Južne vesti". Juznevesti.com. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Niški demonstranti izneli nove lokalne zahteve, pauza za vikend : Društvo : Južne vesti". Juznevesti.com. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Dveri: Preispitati Bulatovićevu penziju : Politika : Južne vesti". Juznevesti.com. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Na protestu "protiv diktature" postavili pitanje gradonačelniku Niša : Društvo : Južne vesti". Juznevesti.com. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  26. ^ u 13:11. "City :: Izbori 2017 :: Gomila "doktora naprednih nauka" nakon protesta u Nišu". Radiocity.rs. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Velike tajne Malog majstora – Ili kako je Siniša Mali ukrao doktorat - Raša Karapandža". Peščanik (in Croatian). 9 July 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  28. ^ "Kako do doktorata? Lako! Slučaj ministra Stefanovića - Grupa autora". Peščanik (in Croatian). 1 June 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2020.

External links[edit]