A mass gathering of supporters of President Aleksandar Vučić, organized by his ruling Serbian Progressive Party, is taking place in Belgrade in the rain. Among other things, Vučić announced his departure from the position of SNS president.
The rally takes place from 19:00 in front of the building of the Serbian Assembly in the center of Belgrade, which is completely blocked. The event takes place in heavy rain. Portal nova.rs reports that some participants left the rally shortly after the start.
Among others, the Serbian Foreign Minister addressed the gathering Ivica DačićPresident of the Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik and the Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
At the beginning of his speech, Vučić thanked the crowd for not being driven away by the rain. According to him, this showed how ready they are to “they are fighting for a peaceful and decent Serbia”.
“We need unity more than ever. And tonight you showed incredible selflessness and I can’t describe how much I love you for standing in the rain all these hours just because you love your Serbia.” he said.
He announced that he was leaving the position of SNS president. “11 years at the helm of SNS, the best and biggest client of wonderful hosts and honest people. You did it. Tonight is the last time I address you as president of SNS,” he said.
Before the rally, Vučić announced “the biggest gathering in the history of Serbia”, which was called the Serbia of Hope. Participants from all over Serbia were brought to the rally by buses, some were allegedly paid, others, mainly employees of public institutions and companies, were forced to do so. They also came from Republika Srpska, Montenegro, a group from Kosovo walked to Belgrade, reported the correspondent of RTV Slovenia from Belgrade Boštjan Anžin.
Ruling politicians talk about attempts to destroy Serbia from inside and outside, while the opposition is politically abusing the tragedy with protests. Vučić said that tonight he will show the unity of Serbia, he announced new solutions, he should offer a dialogue with those who think differently, since his role will change from Monday. It is expected that this time he will indeed resign from the top of the Serbian Progressive Party, which is said to have more than 750,000 members, and he may also announce early elections.
TV Pink is supposed to cancel the show Zadruga
Owner of the pro-government Pink TV Željko Mitrović said that, on the recommendation of Serbian President Vučić, he would cancel the reality show Zadruga within ten days at the latest.
Reality shows make up almost a third of the program on TV Pink, which is also one of the opposition’s reasons for demanding the withdrawal of the national frequency from this television. “On the recommendation of the Serbian president, President Aleksandar Vučić, I made the decision to cancel the reality show Zadruga as soon as possible, no longer than ten days. I believe that the unity of Serbia and the evaluation of the president of the republic are more important than any kind of interest and my personal interest,” Mitrović announced on Twitter on Thursday.
Zadruga is the most famous reality show in Serbia, broadcast by Pink TV since 2017. It is known for high prize money and fees, violent scenes and profanity, and controversial contestants, including former prisoners. Scenes of violence and profanity are censored during the show during the day, but are shown without restrictions at night.
On TV Pink, 39 percent of the programming is reality shows
The abolition of reality programs and shows that promote violence was also one of the demands at the May protests in Belgrade organized by the opposition. Among other things, the protesters are demanding the withdrawal of national frequencies from the pro-government commercial television stations Pink and Happy. These are also the two televisions on which the share of reality shows is the highest. For example, it was 11 percent on Happy TV in the first three months of this year, and 39 percent on Pink TV, mainly due to the sixth season of Zadruga, according to a report by the Media Regulation Council (REM).
REM controls the work of the electronic media in Serbia, and one of the demands of the opposition is the replacement of all members of the council of this body. Protests under the slogan Serbia against violence have been held in the Serbian capital every Friday since two shooting attacks earlier this month in which a 13-year-old and a 20-year-old killed a total of 18 people. This week, due to today’s pro-government rally organized by Vučić’s Serbian Progressive Party, they will be held exceptionally on Saturday.
Porphyry at the head of the procession
Last night, however, a traditional Ascension procession took place, which was dedicated to the victims of mass shootings in early May. Despite the downpours, believers filled the central streets of Belgrade, the procession, which ended in front of the temple of Saint Sava, was led by the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Porphyriawho remembered 18 people who died in shooting attacks, as well as victims of family and other violence. “Even if we are different, we must not allow ourselves to abuse our common happiness and accuse each other, thus sowing new seeds of evil and misunderstandings,” urged the patriarch.