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27 Nov 2021

RFE/RL's Balkan Service

Demonstrators in Serbia block bridges and roads to protest legislation they say favors business

27 November 2021

Demonstrators blocked roads and bridges across Serbia...to protest against new laws they contend favor business.

Police were out in force, especially in the capital Belgrade...Similar actions were organized in several other cities across Serbia, including Novi Sad, Zrenjanin, Sabac, and Kragujevac...

Environmental groups and civil society organizations object to the authorities' recent moves to lower the referendum threshold and allow for the swift expropriation of private property if it's deemed to be in the public interest.

Activists argue this will pave the way for foreign companies to circumvent popular discontent over projects such as the bid by the Rio Tinto company to launch a lithium mine in western Serbia.

Serbia’s authorities have rejected the accusations, saying the new laws are needed because of infrastructure projects. President Aleksandar Vucic said a referendum will be organized on the Rio Tinto mine.