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Kraljevo

Serbian democracy activists feel betrayed as freedoms, and a path to the EU, slip away

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KRALJEVO, Serbia (AP) — When Serbia began talks to join the European Union in 2014, pro-Western Serbs were hopeful the process would set their troubled country on an irreversible path to democratization. A decade later, that optimism is gone, replaced by feelings of betrayal — both toward their government, which has slid toward autocracy, and the EU, which has done little to stop it.

Predrag Vostinic, 48, says he became a democracy activist by necessity — his way of pushing back against the rising authoritarianism, government corruption and organized crime gripping the Balkan nation. Since May, a grassroots movement he founded in the central city of Kraljevo has joined weekly protests against the government of President Aleksandar Vucic, part of a wider movement.

He and other members of the group faced threats in the streets and on social media. Other government opponents, in Kraljevo and elsewhere, have been sidelined at work or sacked from their jobs in state-run companies, he said.

Still, he said, it’s worth it: “You become sort of a public voice for people.”

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Izvor informacija:Associated Press

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