Serbian progressive groups condemn vandalizing of Tomb of National Heroes

The Tomb of National Heroes in Kalemegdan, which honors the sacrifices of World War II martyrs, was vandalized, reportedly by vigilantes of the far-right Leviathan Movement on December 21

December 30, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
The Tomb of National Heroes that was vandalized.

Far-right vigilantism and attacks on progressive forces have been on an increase in Serbia. In the latest of these attacks, miscreants from the right-wing Leviathan group vandalized the Tomb of National Heroes in Kalemegdan on December 21 and issued death threats against Milos Karavezić, a member of secretariat of the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (SKOJ). Progressive sections in Serbia, including the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia (NKPJ) and SKOJ, protested the far-right attacks by miscreants from Leviathan.

The Leviathan Movement is an ultra nationalist far-right political party founded in Serbia under the leadership of Pavle Bihali Gavrin in 2015. The movement, which was founded as an animal right group, swiftly began anti-immigrant vigilante activity and participated in the 2020 Serbian parliamentary elections.

According to reports, on the night of December 21, the Tomb of People’s Heroes in Kalemegdan was desecrated with offensive graffiti allegedly painted by the activists of Leviathan. The Tomb of People’s Heroes is located at the Belgrade Fortress and was built in 1948. It holds the remains of Ivo Lola Ribar, Ivan Milutinović,  Đuro Đaković, and Moša Pijade, four recipients of the Order of the People’s Hero of SFR Yugoslavia for their heroic deeds during World War II. This site has been a frequent target of right-wing vandalism in recent times. The League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (SKOJ) has organized “People’s Guards” to protect the Tomb of People’s Heroes from vandalism.

The League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (SKOJ) said that “this is the fourth time in the last year that the Tomb of People’s Heroes has come under attack by right-wing extremists, and the perpetrators of that heinous act have never been booked”.

SKOJ has demanded that the Ministry of the Interior of Serbia prevent members of  National Defense Leviathan “from patrolling around Belgrade at night, by intercepting migrants, bullying them, harassing them and demanding them to be in their camps, not on the city streets”.

Earlier on October 25, the left-wing sections in Belgrade including the Party of the Radical Left (PRL) had protested far-right vigilantism against migrants in the city and organized a solidarity event with the migrants.