Thousands of people gathered in central Belgrade on Wednesday evening for what organizers said is a memorial march on the anniversary of the murder of Kosovo Serb opposition leader Oliver Ivanovic.
“We will march in silence because we all want to know the answer to the question who said kill him,” actor Branislav Trifunovic, who has spoken at all the weekly protests in Belgrade to date, told the crowd. “One year later and we still don’t know who killed him. We have just been told who did not kill him. We will march tonight to the (St Sava) Temple in honour of Oliver Ivanovic, a man who used his head and who fought for peace and joint life of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo,” Trifunovic said.
He asked the crowd to put away their whistles and banners for the memorial march and to light candles and hold up their phones at Slavija square just below the temple “to show that there are more of us”.
A banner quoting Ivanovic’s words ‘There Are More of Us’ was carried by protesters at the front of the column.
The march was attended by activists of the Local Front from Kraljevo who left their home town on January 12 to walk to Belgrade.
Ivanovic’s common law wife Milena Popovic attended a memorial at the St Sava Temple on Wednesday morning with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic while his brother and other relatives attended a memorial service in their home town of Kosovska Mitrovica where Ivanovic was killed in front of his party offices.
Kosovo Serb NGO head attacks media and opposition
The head of a Kosovo Serb missing persons organization used the anniversary of the killing of Oliver Ivanovic for a fierce attack on the opposition and some media.
Simo Spasic, president of the Association of Families of the Abducted and Killed in Kosovo where the gathering was held, made offensive remarks against the media which are not to his liking as well as against the opposition Alliance for Serbia which he said was “evil for Serbia”, the FoNet news agency reported.
Spasic engaged in a heated exchange with reporters claiming that some of the media, including N1, were “destroying the state” by reporting that a group of local activists were marching from the town of Kraljevo to Belgrade for the Ivanovic murder anniversary. One reporter called the media to leave the event.
Spasic made little mention of Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb opposition leader who was gunned down in front of his party offices in Kosovska Mitrovica, saying only that “he annoyed both the Albanians and international community” and that the opposition was only seemingly seeking justice for him with the protest gathering in Belgrade to mark the anniversary.
Djuric told the gathering that the Ivanovic murder was seen by some in Pristina as a new way to pressure the Serbs, but he avoided commenting the video by the Serb List released just prior to local elections in Kosovo before the assassination in which Ivanovic was called a traitor. Djuric even avoided saying whether he had seen the video which was aired on the government-financed Most TV but kept repeating that there were attempts at manipulation of the murder.