On Sunday, 19th of February, at approximately 16.35, a group of young men was passing by our office windows, when one of them vandalized our windows by spraying them with black can paint. Luckily, no one was injured during the attack. We demand that the authorities immediately investigate and process of the culprit, to stop the evident vandalism of far-right extremist groups and the demolition of the walls and facades of Belgrade, as well as other cities across the country. Futhermore we urge the authorities to prosecute the individuals who have continously, particularly in the last 24 hours, sent severe threats to activists and civilians on social media (publicly and privately).

YIHR’s offices are located at a very visible and prominent place, because for the last 20 years of our work we did not, and never will, need to hide it from the public.

A hooligan with a hoodie on his head had attacked our offices while employees were inside and external associates preparing the space for an upcoming exhibition. The attack was immediately reported to the nearest police station, and a patrol was quickly sent to the crime scene. YIHR has forwarded all evidence, including security camera footage with a clear image of the culprit, to the police.

This attack comes as a consequence of our last initiative on Friday, 18th of February, which was publicly communicated and reported to the police. The action’s goal was to clean up the children’s park on Slavija square known as Mitićeva rupa and clean the facade. Moreover, along with this action, and in collaboration with the A11 Initiative, we have called for this park to be renamed as the park of Dušan Jovanović, a Roma boy who was mercilessly murdered, just because of his ethnic background. 

Shortly after the wall of the building of the Institute for Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy was cleaned and painted,  hate messages have appeared, namely ones calling upon death, along with the demands of liberation of the leaders of the far-right nationalist group called “National Patrol”, of whom one had been arrested on the 15th of February for possession of firearm (a sniper). Later, unidentified people have again painted over these messages, leaving one saying “Kosovo is Serbia”.

Institutions of the Republic of Serbia are responsible for the curent situation on the streets of Belgrade. By their lack of reaction and direct targeting of activists by certain government representatives, the actions of extremist groups have intensified towards civil society organizations and activists. Despite all pressures and threats, YIHR continues it’s battle for a more just and peaceful society and intends to stay consistent in it’s non-compliance with the standards violently imposed on society by extremist groups who use weapons and violence to send their message. These kinds of groups and their ill-doing are a concern for the authorities, and conflict of this nature should not be dealt with by civil society organizations.