Civil society organizations gathered around the “Three Freedoms” Platform urgently request the MUP(The Ministry of Internal Affairs) to protect the citizens who were exposed to private security attacks in Novi Sad today, as well as to stop the application of repressive measures and excessive force by MUP members. Furthermore, we demand that activists be provided with the unhindered right to freedom of assembly and expression and participation in decision-making. The Assembly of the City of Novi Sad must respect the democratic right of interested citizens to attend the session where the General Urban Plan is adopted.
In the photos and videos that are publicly available on media portals and social networks, it is possible to see how members of private security forcefully push and knock down the demonstrators, and the moment in which they forcefully pushed away one activist who fell to the ground was also recorded. After the arrival of the police, there was a conflict with the demonstrators, and a video is available of the arrest of one of the activists with the excessive use of force, as is suspected, by the plainclothes police.
We demand that the competent institutions immediately initiate proceedings against the responsible members of the police and private security, in order to determine whether there was an excessive use of force against the gathered citizens.
We remind that for months the citizens of Novi Sad warned about the bad solutions provided by the proposal of the new General Urban Plan of Novi Sad, and the competent institutions rejected more than 10,000 objections from the citizens. Also, we remind of the reaction of the “Three Freedoms” Platform, from March 2022, on the occasion of the criminal prosecution of three activists of the Youth Student Action (OSA) who interrupted the debate on the General Urban Plan of the city of Novi Sad, which judged that the citizens were forced to resort to extra-institutional mechanisms in cases when institutions turn a deaf ear to the problems of citizens and prevent them from influencing the decision-making that concerns them.
In front of the “Three Freedoms” Platform:
Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR Serbia)
A11- Initiative for economic and social rights
Belgrade Center for Human Rights
Slavko Curuvija Foundation
Center for Practical Politics
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
Belgrade Center for Security Policy
Center for cultural decontamination
Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights – YUCOM
IJAS – Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia