On Sunday, October 25, the left-wing sections in Belgrade organized “A Tea of Solidarity” in the park near the Faculty of Economics in the city to counter the far-right vigilantism against migrants in the city. The right-wing anti-migrant group Peoples Patrols had organized a clean-up of the park and chanted anti-migrant, hyper-nationalist slogans at the event. A large contingent of security forces were also present in the park to avert clashes between the groups.
Masina reported that the leader of the right-wing group, Damjan Knezevic, who is the former vice-president of the far-right Zavetnici party, was present at the event and addressed the gathering with threats against migrants in the cities across Serbia. Left-wing groups responded by chanting slogans in solidarity with the migrants.
The Party of the Radical Left (PRL), whose activists were present in the park in solidarity with migrants, has condemned the right-wing vigilantism and the security forces who did not stop the event from taking place.
On October 25, Ivan Velisavljević from PRL stated that “the police allowed a racist meeting to take place today. We saw the same police beat refugees just a few days earlier. The fact that right-wing groups can endorse ethnic cleansing and that it is left to common citizens to resist them, speaks of the failure of the system to deal with the refugee crisis both at the level of security and as well as a humanitarian level.”
“PRL believes that the reaction of the citizens of Serbia to the arrival of refugees was a show of solidarity and that, despite everything, it should remain that way. The task of the state is to deal with the refugee crisis in a responsible way, keeping dignity, safety and human lives. Tomorrow we want to be proud of the human reaction of our society to the refugee crisis caused by the Imperial Wars, not to be ashamed of the hate and violence that are behind right-wing extremist groups.”
Serbia has been witnessing a rise in right-wing aggression recently. Last week, hyper nationalist, far-right groups tried to disrupt the “Mirëdita, Good Day” festival held at the Centre for Cultural Decontamination (CZKD) which intended to bring the Kosovo cultural and social scene to the audience in Belgrade. Earlier, right wing attacks were also reported at an alternative cartoon exhibition in Zemun.