25.8 C
Belgrade
Supported byspot_img
spot_img

Thousands of protesters blocked roads across Serbia due to the arrival of Rio Tinto

Member of Europium Groupspot_img
Supported byspot_img

Crowds chanted slogans condemning government of Aleksandar Vučić, which backs planned Anglo-Australian $2.4bn mine

Thousands of demonstrators blocked major roads across Serbia on Saturday as anger swelled over a government-backed plan to allow mining company Rio Tinto to extract lithium.

In the capital, Belgrade, protesters swarmed a major highway and bridge linking the city to outlying suburbs as the crowd chanted anti-government slogans while some held signs criticising the mining project.

Supported by

Smaller protests were held in other Serbian cities, with small scuffles between demonstrators and counter-protesters in Belgrade and the northern city of Novi Sad, according to local media reports.

“They allowed foreign companies to do whatever they want on our land. They put us on a platter for everyone who can just come and take whatever they want,” said Vladislava Cvoric, a 56-year-old economist, during the protest.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic shared a photograph of the protest on Instagram and commented that “clean air, water and food are keys to health”.

“Without that, every word about ‘health’ is obsolete,” Djokovic said.

The protests followed similar demonstrations last week, during which masked men attacked one gathering in western Serbia’s Sabac – sparking outrage on social media and accusations the government was using hooligans to suppress the movement.

Substantial deposits of lithium – a key component for electric car batteries – have been found around the western town of Loznica, where the Anglo-Australian company is buying up land but is still awaiting the final green light from the state to begin mining.

Rio Tinto discovered lithium reserves in the Loznica region in 2006.

The company intends to invest $2.4bn (€2.12bn) in the project, according to Vesna Prodanovic, director of Rio Sava, Rio Tinto’s sister company in Serbia.

Critics have accused president Aleksandar Vučić’s government of setting the stage for illegal land appropriations and ignoring environmental concerns.

The demonstrations come months ahead of likely national elections in 2022, with critics of the protests accusing organisers of stirring controversy to undermine Vučić before the polls.

Source: theguardian.com

Supported byElevatePR Digital

Related News

Serbia moves forward with electric vehicle production and lithium mining despite local backlash

Serbia is on the brink of a significant transformation, poised to become a key player in the electric vehicle (EV) sector and lithium production....

Strickland Metals unveils potential major mineral deposit at Obradov Potok, Serbia

Strickland Metals has identified a promising near-surface anomaly at the Obradov Potok target area within its Rogozna gold and base metals project in Serbia,...

Mercedes CEO stresses importance of Serbian lithium in Europe’s electric vehicle supply chain

Mercedes Chairman Ola Källenius has underscored the strategic importance of Serbia's lithium deposits for Europe. In an interview with Reuters TV in Belgrade, Källenius...

Serbia and EU sign agreement to advance controversial Jadar Valley lithium mine amid protests

The signing of the memorandum of understanding between Serbia and the EU on critical raw materials marks a significant step forward for the controversial...
Supported by
Supported by
Supported by
error: Content is protected !!