Thousands protest in Serbia over 2 mass shootings in under 48 hours
The protesters called for an end to gun violence and to the promotion of violence in the media.
The streets of Serbia's capital, Belgrade, witnessed on Monday a protest of thousands following two mass shootings in less than 48 hours that left at least 17 people dead.
Followed by a call made by opposition parties, the cities of Novi Sad and Nis also witnessed protests that called for an end to gun violence and to the promotion of violence in the media.
The protesters called for the dismissal and resignation of Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic, the director of the Security Intelligence Agency (BIA), Aleksandar Vulin, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, and the dismissal of the Serbian state TV RTS.
Education Minister Branko Ruzic already submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Sunday, as the deadline set for fulfilling the protesters’ demands is Friday, May 12.
The protesters also called for an immediate session of parliament to reevaluate government responsibility and Serbia's security situation, alongside reviewing long-term solutions to avoid tragic incidents like these.
In light of the situation, Vucic revealed on the Serbian regional news and entertainment channel Happy TV his expectations to receive proposals from the protests but claimed that the opposition took advantage of people's emotions.
''In the end, of all the proposals, everything came down to dry politics. They didn't worry for a second about the future of our children," the Serbian President said.
The country has been left in a state of complete shock following the two tragic events. Serbia witnessed a three-day mourning period in what was supposed to be a time of festivities across the nation.
The government has already implemented new measures such as assigning two police officers at 1,800 schools each, and per Vucic's orders, the voluntary surrender of weapons also began on Monday.
According to the Serbian Interior Ministry, 1,500 guns, 50,000 bullets, and more than 100 bombs were submitted on the first day of the call, which is due to proceed until June 8.
Vucic revealed that both registered and illegal guns will be appropriated by the state, prompting him to take on a mass-scale disarmament project that he described as "an almost complete disarming of Serbia."
The head of state spoke during a national address and stressed that "this is an attack on our entire country and every citizen feels it."
The first shooting came when a 7th grader opened fire at an elementary school in Belgrade, killing nine people including eight students. The schoolboy is suspected to have used his father's gun to take carry out an atrocious shooting foreign to Serbia.
The second shooting occurred two days later when Uros Blazic, 21, opened fire from a moving vehicle using an automatic weapon, and killed eight people including his sister, in Mladenovac, near Belgrade, according to state-run RTS television.