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NEWS May 2015

8. May 2015 – 18:37

Activists opposing “Belgrade on Water” devel’t arrested for “distributing newspaper” 

Communal police officers filed reports on Thursday against activists of the Initiative against Drowning Belgrade (“Ne da(vi)mo Beograd”) for public distribution of print material on questionable issues related to the project Belgrade Waterfront.

Local authorities in Belgrade county Palilula claimed to not have jurisdiction over issuing permits for distribution of the material and the police permitted the gathering. Still the communal inspection took into custody three activists that were giving out papers, one journalist on assignment and a passerby who stopped to greet a friend.
Reports were filed for “distribution of newspapers” and we were told that citizens are not entitled to express their opinion in such a way.

While the state illegally puts up post banners, billboards and even promotional pubs for a private commercial project, citizens have no right to publicly expressed opinion. Soon the state will start closing down public parks to move the citizens off the streets. Obviously, citizens are in the way of the state authorities. The national and public interest have nothing in common with the needs and desires of citizens but are instead a product of shady deals and private interests of political and economic elites.

This will not prevent us from further distribution of the material and from insisting that there should be a public debate on development of the city and the society. We are encouraged by the citizens’ response. Try as they might, the authorities can not forbid people to think!



(BETA news agency on the event)

Communal police took activists, a journalist and a passerby into custody

BELGRADE, 19 March 2015 (Beta news agency) – Activists of the Initiative “Ne da(vi)mo Beograd” (“Drowning Belgrade”) that advocate against Belgrade Waterfront project, were taken into custody on Thursday by the Communal police while they were distributing printed material in front of the City Management offices. This took place despite the fact that regular permits for the event have been obtained.

Apart from several members of the civil initiative, communal police officers also took into custody Beta news agency reporter who was assigned to cover the event, as well as a passerby that had nothing to do with the event. Communal police stated that reports were filed for “distribution of advertising material” although activists showed permits issued by the regular police where it was clearly written that the permit extends to “distribution of informative material on city development”, which was itself submitted to the permit issuing authorities. A passerby was taken into custody together with the activists. During the procedure with the inspection officer on duty, a clerk refused to write a report against the passerby as she was told he took no part in the event, the inspector ordered her to in raised voice. After she insistently refused to follow the order, the inspector took her out of the office, and cursed upon his return. The clerk did not write further reports on the matter. A report was filed against the Beta news agency reporter, although she attempted to show her journalist ID to the authorities and stated that she would submit written confirmation from the agency that she was officially assigned to cover the event for the purpose of the reporting in front of the City management. “Despite the permits issued by the regular police, communal inspection and officers took us informally into custody to their premises where they also took in citizens and a reporter. They did not allow us to say that these people had nothing to do with our event”, said the civil initiative representative Radomir Lazović. “On the pretext that we were distributing advertisments, they tried to prevent us from handing out these papers”, he added.
New issue of “Ne da(vi)mo Beograd” leaflet presented on Monday compiled numerous controversies of the Belgrade Waterfront project. “We do not understand what else is required for us to be able to complete this tiniest of events in this city. It is obvious that these papers caused distress among people involved in the project”, said Lazović and added that citizens have the right to be informed and to have opinion on further develompent of the city.

Written by Tino
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