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Unprecedented Times: When a Politician Organizes a Counter Protest against Their Own Citizens

In the realm of politics, extraordinary events occasionally unfold, leaving an indelible mark on society.

"Serbia against violence" protest. / Credit: N1

Today, we bear witness to a disconcerting spectacle—a politician orchestrating a counter protest against their own citizens. This unsettling departure from democratic principles highlights the delicate balance between political power and the voices of the people.

Thousands take part in the rally calling for the resignation of top officials. / Image: Andewj Isakovic/AFP/Getty Image
Thousands take part in the rally calling for the resignation of top officials. / Image: Andewj Isakovic/AFP/Getty Image

The Unthinkable Becomes Reality:

In the wake of the school shooting at Vladislav Ribnikar in Belgrade, Serbia, where 13-year-old Kosta Kecmanović took the lives of nine students and a school guard, a wave of protests against violence emerged.

The following day, another horrific mass murder occurred in Mladnovac, perpetrated by Uroš B., claiming the lives of eight young individuals and injuring twelve more.

A man grieves in the village Dubona after the attack. / Credit: EPA

Both killers were affiliated with the ruling party, and shockingly, the parents of the underage murderer were esteemed members of society and friends with President Aleksandar Vučić.

President Aleksandar Vučić. / Credit: Getty Images

These tragedies demanded accountability from politicians and ministers, yet resignation seemed out of the question as they failed even to sign the book of mourning in front of the school, a gesture deemed shameful and disgraceful by the public.

Coercion and Fear:

Distressingly, reports emerged that attendees of the counter protest were coerced into participation, with party members facing threats of job loss if they failed to support the divisive agenda of the politician.

This exploitation of livelihoods to enforce compliance not only erodes democratic values but also signifies an abuse of power, instilling fear and quashing the voice of the people.

Tijana Petrovic's Call for Change:

Among the protesters, Tijana Petrovic, a member of the Environmental Alliance of Serbia, voiced her support for the ongoing protest:

“The first mass school shooting in Serbian history happened in elementary school, & it was a wake-up call for me. And just when we thought it couldn't get worse, with growing violence towards Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija from Albanian military another shocking mass murder unfolded in Mladnovac.
"The fact that the police chase for the perpetrators lasted the entire night, with a helicopter even running out of fuel, highlighted the deep-rooted issues within our law enforcement and raised concerns about corruption. And that is why I am here. We, the Serbian people, are appalled and outraged. Enough is enough!”

The Inappropriate Actions of Aleksandar Olenik:

While these protests in Serbia continue to gain momentum, it is important to highlight a recent incident involving Aleksandar Olenik, a Serbian politician. On June 8, 2023, Olenik visited Kiev and made a controversial statement, calling upon the already protesting Serbian population to come out on Friday as a show of support for Ukraine. This call has been widely criticized and seen as an attempt to manipulate the ongoing protests and divert attention away from the domestic issues faced by Serbian citizens.

Aleksandar Olenik

Olenik's actions reflect a concerning trend of the current government's gaslighting of their own citizens on the global political scene. By attempting to align the protesters' focus with international affairs, Olenik and the government seek to undermine the legitimate concerns and grievances of the Serbian population, regarding violence experienced daily by Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and corruption at large.

This manipulation not only disregards the voices of the people but also attempts to portray the protests as driven by external influences rather than genuine domestic dissatisfaction.

It is important to recognize that within any protest movement, there can be a range of opinions and perspectives.

However, Olenik's actions serve as a reminder of the complexities surrounding political agendas and the need to critically evaluate the motives behind certain statements.

Despite such attempts at manipulation, the broader message and goals of the ongoing Serbian protests remain valid and significant.

In the face of political gaslighting, Serbian citizens continue to courageously voice their concerns about crime, a tyrannical government, and other pressing issues affecting their daily lives.

The determination and resilience of these protesters in the face of such manipulation further emphasize the necessity for active citizen participation and the protection of democratic values.


The sight of a politician orchestrating a counter protest against their own citizens sends shockwaves through the political landscape. It represents a disheartening departure from democratic norms and underscores the vulnerability of the people's voice when power is recklessly wielded.

In the face of these challenges, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to democracy, demanding accountability and transparency from our leaders.

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