The victory of solidarity and the right to freedom of assembly over institutional retaliation


We welcome the final verdict acquitting Srdjan Vukša, an activist accused of violating the Law on Public Assembly, on the occasion of organizing last year’s protests in Serbia.

 The end of 2021 was marked by civil protests, which were attended by tens of thousands of citizens who wanted to express dissatisfaction with the Law on Expropriation, as well as laws that would limit their right to participate in public policy directly – the Laws on Referendum and the People’s Initiative. The epilogue was that over a thousand participants in the protest received misdemeanor warrants for blocking traffic, while several hundred were unjustifiably accused of organizing unreported protests. Experts assessed these allegations as problematic and as another type of pressure on citizens who did not organize the protests but participated in them and invited others to join them through social networks.

Since January, at least two hundred misdemeanor proceedings have been initiated under the Law on Public Assembly against civil activists. The acquittal of Srdjan Vukša represents the first victory of solidarity between the profession, civil society organizations, and activists against institutional retaliation.

Human rights defenders, including the Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights YUCOM, Civic Initiatives, the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, and the Civil Committee for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Whistleblowers, have worked together to support citizens against whom the Ministry of Interior has initiated proceedings. We welcome the first acquittal. This verdict encourages all citizens that the courts will protect their rights at a time when other institutions are ready to endanger them.


  • Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Civic Initiatives
  • Civil Committee for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Whistleblowers
  • Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights YUCOM

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