Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

Serbians hand in guns and question culture of violence after two shootings

Serbians hand in guns and question culture of violence after two shootings

Shock and horror might have been Serbians' first reaction to two mass shootings in as many days earlier this month. But outrage swiftly followed.

Tens of thousands of people attended two protests in the capital, Belgrade, with smaller rallies in other cities around the country.

They marched under the banner "Serbia Against Violence" and called for an end to what they viewed as a culture of violence which led to the shootings at a school in Belgrade and, the next day, around Mladenovac, south of Serbia's capital.

More protests will follow - and the government seems rattled. Senior figures have been talking down the numbers involved, as well as making plans for a "solidarity" rally of their own.

But there is one issue which both protesters and authorities seem to agree on: gun control.

"There is no pro-gun lobby in Serbia," says Bojan Elek, the deputy director of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy and an expert on firearms issues in the country.

"There is a national association of gun owners - but nothing close to what they're doing in the US with the National Rifle Association (NRA)."

In the wake of the shootings, President Aleksandar Vucic swiftly announced what he called a "general disarmament" of the country. He declared a month-long amnesty for illegally-held weapons, with a warning of harsh consequences for anyone who held on to guns without a permit.

The president also has legally-held weapons in his sights. Mr Vucic has announced a moratorium on new weapons permits and a review of current gun licences.

All this would appear to be quite an undertaking in a country where the number of guns in circulation is, apparently, alarmingly high. In 2018, the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey ranked Serbia third in the world for the number of weapons in private hands, with 39 guns per 100 people.


The public and political reaction to such a disarmament programme in the country which tops the list, the United States, can be imagined. In Serbia, says Bojan Elek, it has been a different matter.

The amnesty has been mostly positively accepted, he says, and by the second day of the amnesty, more guns and ammunition had been handed over than in the previous three amnesties put together.

"The number of illegal guns is definitely being reduced - even some weapons from World War II have been handed in. But we haven't got a credible figure of how many there were to start with, so it's hard to say how many are remaining."

Given the government's swift action to reduce the number of weapons in circulation and the lack of widespread objections to their proposals, the question is: why are tens of thousands of people still motivated to hit the streets in protest?

Political analyst Bosko Jaksic agrees that the weapons amnesty is not the bone of contention.

"The only thing which Vucic organised promptly was gun control. This is organised well and it works - so why should the demonstrators ask for such a measure when it already exists?"

Instead, the protesters are looking beyond the weapons and towards what they view as the root causes of the shootings.

The specifics include demands for the resignation of two senior government officials and the revocation of the licences of two pro-government broadcasters. But overall, protesters say they are most concerned about a culture of both rhetorical and physical violence which they believe has grown since the Serbian Progressive Party took power in 2012.

"We are surrounded by violence - in the public domain, political communication, parliament and television shows," says Belgrade resident, Aleks. "The culture of civilised conversation is completely lost."

Another protester, Milos, feels much the same way.

"The tragic events were a culmination of the violent methods - not necessarily physical - that they're practising in the media," he says.

Neither of these particular protesters believe that Serbia is in danger of emulating the levels of gun violence seen in the US.

"That narrative is mainly coming from government officials who are blaming 'Western values'," says Aleks. "What we're seeing has nothing to do with Western values, but values imposed on us by our own government."

Bojan Elek takes a slightly broader view.

"There is definitely some fear about emulating the US," he says. "But the government is riding this fear and trying to introduce problematic measures, like reducing the age of criminal responsibility to 12 and allowing police to enter homes without court orders."

The protesters' demands have yet to be met. But the pro-government broadcaster Pink TV has announced the cancellation of a controversial reality programme which has long been on the receiving end of criticism for its tacit approval of verbal and occasionally physical violence.

Meanwhile, President Vucic has talked down the significance of the protests - accusing opposition parties of using a national tragedy for their own benefit. That has not, however, stopped him from announcing his own rally at the end of this month, with a special meeting of the Progressive Party the following day.

"President Vucic has shown he's afraid of the street - of people gathering in Belgrade and other cities," says Bosko Jaksic.

"These meetings are polarising. Why not just go on TV instead of paying millions to transport and feed people you bring to Belgrade? It's a manifestation of glory instead of solidarity, not unifying but further dividing Serbia."

And that may be what brings more people on to the streets of Belgrade in the coming days and weeks.

AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Budapest Post
Close
0:00
0:00
The Fed fixing the economy
Corporations standing up for “LGDP-LGT-LBG-LGBTQ2+ kids” during ‘Pride Month’ be like:
A Major Ukrainian Hydroelectric Dam BLOWN UP
US and European Intelligence Agencies Uncover Evidence of Ukrainian Role in Terror Attack on Nord Stream Pipeline
The driver has been described by authorities as a 21-year-old woman from Tallahassee
Joe Biden falls at the Air Force Graduation
America's Got Talent…
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
Drone Attack on Moscow's Wealthiest Neighborhoods Suspected to be Launched by Ukraine
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Hold Power Talks with President Biden in Washington
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
Prominent Hacker Forum RaidForums Suffers Substantial Data Breach
Climate cultists thought they had sabotaged another beautiful event — then the cameraman had his revenge.
Nvidia CEO Huang says firms, individuals without AI expertise will be left behind
WPP Revolutionizes Advertising with NVIDIA's AI Powerhouse
Two US Employees Fired For Chasing Robbers Out Of Store As They Broke ''Company Policy''
Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink - Smoke, Mirrors, and the Billion-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Deal: EU's 'Open Secret
Actor Tom Hanks told Harvard University graduates to be superheroes in their defense of truth and American ideals, and to resist those who twist the truth for their own gain
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
France Arrests 10 on Suspicion of Failing to Respond in Time to Migrant Drowning
Neuralink Receives FDA Approval for First-in-Human Clinical Study
Is Saudi Arabia the holiest place in the world? Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions from "The Mount Sinai Stand" Discovered in Saudi Arabia
Ukrainian Intelligence Official Admits to Assassination Attempts on Putin
WATCH THIS: democracy in Russia is so bad!
Ed Davey: It is possible for a woman to have a penis
Bernard Arnault Loses $11.2 Billion in One Day as Investors Fear Slowdown in US Growth Will Reduce Demand for Luxury Products
Russian’s Wagner Group leader: “I am not a chef, I am a butcher. Russia is in danger of a revolution like in 1917.”
TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App
Ron DeSantis Jumps Into 2024 Presidential Race, Setting Up Showdown With Trump
Steve Jobs introducing Apple's iPhone, exactly 16 years ago.
China overtakes Japan as world's top car exporter
Elon Musk's SpaceX and Italy's Unipol join forces to help Italians hit by flooding
Talks between US House Republicans and President Biden's Democratic administration on raising the federal government's $31.4tn debt ceiling have paused
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received a warm welcome at an Arab summit in Jeddah
Biden Administration Eyeing High-Profile Visits to China: The Biden Administration is heating things up by looking into setting up a series of top-level visits to Beijing by top officials in the coming months
New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified
A French court of appeals confirmed former President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-year jail term for corruption and influence peddling
Debt Ceiling Crises Have Unleashed Political Chaos
Weibao Wang, a former software engineer at Apple, was charged with stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars
Mobile phone giant Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs globally over three years as new boss says its performance not good enough
Elon Musk compares George Soros to Magneto, the supervillain from the Marvel Comics series.
Warren Buffett Sells TSMC Shares Over Concerns About Taiwan's Stability
New Study Finds That Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia Is a Major Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients Who Require Ventilator Assistance
Vienna: Passenger Plays Hitler Speeches on Train, Causes Panic
The official tapes of Trump's deposition in the E. Jean Carroll battery (rape) and defamation case have been released.
King Charles III being crowned.
Newly released video of Donald Trump’s rape trial deposition:
Video: Ukraine MP Punches Russian Representative At Global Meet
El Paso mayor has declared a state of emergency
Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in an attempt to kill Putin
×