We have witnessed an incredible variety of threats of violence, as shown by unrestrained mobs that spread fear and hatred on the internet and on the spot with monstrous threats and pig heads. The measure of fear that most of us cannot understand is summed up in an apology message from the bakery owner issued to protect the lives of his family as well as those of his employees.
The Minister of the Interior and one of the leading people of the Serbian Progressive Party tried unconvincingly to relativise the attack, as well as to demonise everyone who defended the lives of the family from Borča, targeted for lynching by extreme right-wingers and nationalists.
Fully concordant stances of both the extremist groups and Minister Stefanović forced the Gjuraj family to fear for their lives. The particularly cynical part of the Interior Minister’s statement was that there were no broken windows at the bakery, thereby denying threats and hate messages that can be louder than the glass breaking. The minister dared to relativise the lynching at the ’Roma’ bakery, attacks on property and Serbian nationals in Kosovo at a time where the independent media and political adversaries from Kosovo, also Serbian nationals, are targeted by his party.
The Minister still owes an explanation to the public as to why the police selectively recognise the concept of spontaneous gatherings only when it is done by the extreme nationalists, while in other cases, as were the commemoration for the victims of genocide in Srebrenica, gatherings against the Belgrade Waterfront project, or Against the Dictatorship, where the police were issuing misdemeanour reports for unreported rallies to the organisers. Likewise, even though the police did not allow incidents of larger proportions, the question remains as to why the police did not stop the gathering in front of the ’Roma’ bakery, having in mind that the hooligans had sent clear messages of hate to the owner of the shop (by singing and chanting nationalist messages and leaving pig heads) which could have been construed as the basis for banning of the human rights violations – mongering rally.
In light of the theatrically announced today’s meeting in Berlin, which should represent a key step forward in the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, the Initiative says that the meetings and agreements of the leaders of the two nations are worthless if citizens and extremist groups are pushed at each other at the same time. Such events and reactions of the authorities in Belgrade are more like preparing a war than creating the preconditions for peace.