The civic initiative “Don’t drown Belgrade” has brought a bunch of debris in front of the Ministry of Finance building, protesting against the appointment of Sinisa Mali as the new Finance minister. Mali, the controversial former mayor of Belgrade, was appointed earlier this week. “Don’t drown Belgrade” stated that “he can run from one post to another, but he cannot avoid responsibility for what he has done”.
In April 2016 unknown persons illegally demolished a number of buildings in the Hercegovacka street, in Belgrade’s inner city, using bulldozers. The buildings were at the place planned for constructing the Belgrade Waterfront, “an urban renewal development project” led by the Serbian government and the Eagle Hills company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Instead of being prosecuted, Mali is being promoted”, the initiative said.
During the demolition, the residents were illegally detained. Following harsh reactions by the public and protests, Aleksandar Vucic, the then prime minister, said that Belgrade City authorities including Mali have been responsible for the incidents calling them “complete idiots”. However, Mali never faced any legal action.
“Despite the fact that Aleksandar Vucic, Prime minister at that time, singled him (Mali) out as the person that ordered the action, and despite the testimony of his ex-wife, according to whom he boasted he had organised the ‘clearing of the terrain’… criminal charges were never filed and a investigation was never initiated”, the initiative underlined.
“Don’t drown Belgrade” also indicated that, according to the police report, the demolition could not have taken place without using several city services. They also recalled that Mali was involved “in a number of scandals ignored by the authorities”.
“All this, suggest that the government has established full control over the state institutions and that citizens are not equal before the law”, they concluded.
At the same time, the members of the initiative, as they claim, have been faced with legal actions in more than 30 cases. “The officials of the ruling party who have committed crimes are being awarded, while the voice of the dissatisfied citizens is silenced by legal action and fines”…. / IBNA