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13 Jan 2020 | 11:39 PM UTC

Serbia: Activists plan rally in Belgrade January 17

Activists plan a demonstration in Belgrade in support of the Serbian Orthodox Church on January 17; heightened police presence and traffic disruptions expected

security
transportation
SRB

Event

Student groups from the University of Belgrade are planning to hold a rally in support of the Serbian Orthodox Church outside of the Church of Saint Mark on Friday, January 17, in the capital Belgrade. They have asked participants to gather at 18:00 (local time), before marching to the Patriarchate. The groups are protesting the recently passed law on religious freedom in Montenegro, which some activists claim suppresses the religious rights of Serbian minorities in the country.

A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are expected near demonstration sites and along the march route. Associated rallies are expected to be held over the coming weeks.

Context

Thousands of people participated in a similar march in Belgrade on Wednesday, January 8. At least four protests have been held in the capital since the law was adopted by Montenegro’s parliament in December 2019. Under the law, religious communities in Montenegro are required to prove property ownership from before 1918. Opponents of the Law on Religious Freedoms claim the legislation is in violation of the constitution and would strip the Serbian Orthodox Church of its property.

Advice

Individuals in Belgrade are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate transportation disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.