Violence and intimidation needs to stop urgently, institutions belong to citizens

Civil society organizations gathered around the “Three Freedoms” Platform urgently request the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) to protect citizens who were exposed to attacks from private security in Novi Sad today, as well as to stop the application of repressive measures and excessive force by MUP members. Furthermore, we demand that activists be provided with the unhindered right to freedom of assembly and expression and participation in the decision-making process. The Assembly of the City of Novi Sad must respect the democratic right of interested citizens to attend the session where the General Urban Plan was being adopted.

In the photos and videos that are publicly available on media portals and social networks, it is possible to see how members of private security forcefully push and knock down protesters, and the moment in which they forcefully pushed away one activist who fell to the ground was also recorded. After the arrival of the police, there was a conflict with protesters, and a video is available of the arrest of one of the activists with the excessive use of force, as is suspected, by plain clothed policemen.

We demand that the competent institutions immediately initiate proceedings against the responsible members of the police and the private security, in order to determine whether there was excessive use of force against the gathered citizens.

We remind that for months citizens of Novi Sad warned about bad solutions provided by the proposal of the new General Urban Plan of Novi Sad, and the competent institutions rejected more than 10,000 objections from citizens. Also, we remind of the reaction of the “Three Freedoms” Platform, from March 2022, on the occasion of the criminal prosecution of three activists of the Youth Student Action (OSA) who interrupted a debate on the General Urban Plan of the city of Novi Sad, which judged that citizens were forced to resort to extra-institutional mechanisms in cases when institutions turn a deaf ear to the problems of citizens and prevent them from influencing the decision-making that concerns them.

 

In front of the “Three Freedoms” Platform:

 

  1. Civic Initiatives
  2. Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR Serbia)
  3. A11- Initiative for Economic and Social Rights
  4. Belgrade Center for Human Rights
  5. CRTA
  6. Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation
  7. New Optimism
  8. Policy Center
  9. Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
  10. Belgrade Center for Security Policy
  11. Center for Cultural Decontamination
  12. Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM
  13. NUNS
  14. Autonomous Women’s Center
  15. TRAG Foundation
  16. Transparency Serbia