The scars of NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia will not be forgotten. 5,000 demonstrators gathered in Belgrade's city center to campaign for closer ties with Russia, and to put a stop to Serbia's path towards NATO integration
Originally appeared at Arguments and Facts. Translated for RI by Alexei Shestyan
On Saturday, a mass demonstration was held in the center of the Serbian capital against increasing co-operation of Serbia with the European Union and NATO.
The event was organized by the extra-parliamentary anti-fascist movement "Двери" (“Doors”). According to their representative, about 5000 activists gathered in Belgrade city square. Many of demonstrators, with Serbian national monuments in the background, held portraits of the Russian head Vladimir Putin and Russian flags.
The participants in the rally were calling for the strengthening of cooperation with Russia and against ever deepening ties with the EU and NATO, pursued by the governing Serbian Progressive Party.
One of the leaders of "Doors", former presidential candidate Vladan Glishich, offered an alternative to the audience, support a "Blair" version of the Serbian government or the "worthy Russian government". The participants unanimously and emotionally supported an alliance with Russia.
Protesters also criticized the head of the Cabinet of Ministers of Serbia, Alexander Vivic, who is working with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, one of the initiators of the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.
The company Ipsos Strategic Marketing had earlier released the results of a survey showing that the Serbian people were more alligned with Russia than the EU.
It was found that while 52% of Serbs have a positive attitude to the Russian Federation, only 32% are pro-EU.
However, rather ambigously 54% of respondents were in favor of Serbia's accession to the EU, which, it is believed, will improve the standard of living. Against European integration, were only 27%.