Serbia protests rage over mining project

NO TO RIO TINTO A protestor holds a flag reading “ecology rebellion” as demonstrators block the main highway to protest against Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto’s plan to mine lithium in the country, in Belgrade on Dec. 4, 2021. Thousands of demonstrators blocked major roads across Serbia on Dec. 4, 2021 as anger swelled over a government-backed plan to allow mining giant Rio Tinto to extract lithium from the Balkan nation. AFP PHOTO

NO TO RIO TINTO A protestor holds a flag studying “ecology rebel” as demonstrators block the primary freeway to protest in opposition to Anglo-Australian corporate Rio Tinto’s plan to mine lithium within the nation, in Belgrade on Dec. 4, 2021. 1000’s of demonstrators blocked primary roads throughout Serbia on Dec. 4, 2021 as anger swelled over a government-backed plan to permit mining massive Rio Tinto to extract lithium from the Balkan country. AFP PHOTO

Belgrade, Serbia: 1000’s of demonstrators blocked primary roads throughout Serbia on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as anger swelled over a government-backed plan to permit mining massive Rio Tinto to extract lithium from the Balkan country.

Within the capital Belgrade, protesters swarmed a big freeway and bridge linking the town to outlying suburbs as the gang chanted anti-government slogans whilst some held indicators criticising the mining undertaking.

Smaller protests have been held in different Serbian towns, with small scuffles between demonstrators and counter-protesters in Belgrade and the northern town of Novi Unhappy, in line with native media studies.

“They allowed overseas corporations to do no matter they would like on our land. They put us on a platter for everybody who can simply come and take no matter they would like,” Vladislava Cvoric, a 56-year outdated economist, instructed Agence Ftance-Presse all the way through the protest.

Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic shared {a photograph} of the protest on Instagram and commented that “blank air, water and meals are keys to well being.”

“With out that, each and every phrase about ‘well being’ is out of date,” Djokovic added.

The protests adopted equivalent demonstrations closing week all the way through which masked males attacked one accumulating in western Serbia’s Sabac — sparking outrage on social media and accusations the federal government was once the usage of hooligans to suppress the motion.

Considerable deposits of lithium — a key part for electrical automobile batteries — are discovered across the western the city of Loznica, the place the Anglo-Australian corporate is purchasing up land however continues to be watching for the overall inexperienced mild from the state to start mining.

Rio Tinto found out lithium reserves within the Loznica area in 2006.

The corporate intends to take a position $2.4 billion (2.12 billion euros) within the undertaking, in line with Vesna Prodanovic, director of Rio Sava, Rio Tinto’s sister corporate in Serbia.

Critics have accused President Aleksandar Vucic’s authorities of surroundings the level for unlawful land appropriations and ignoring environmental considerations.

The demonstrations come months forward of most probably nationwide elections subsequent 12 months, with critics of the protests accusing organizers of stirring controversy to undermine Vucic ahead of the polls.