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[serbia] *Racist protests in Vracevic – How to react*

*Racist protests in Vracevic – How to react*

(invitation to a meeting in belgrade)

In reaction to the situation around the overcrowded asylum centre in Bogovada, local officials decided to introduce a new policy of accommodating asylum seekers in private houses. But when around 80 migrants were accommodated in a private house in Vračevič, citizens of this town started a violent, racist protest against migrants being accommodated in their village. They fear that the presence of migrants would threaten their security and, while claiming not to be against people of colour in general/ xenophobic, are using a very racist argumentation. How can we react to this racist mobilization?
There are some ideas like documenting what was happening, writing an article that opposes the mainstream media’s argumentation, or intervening directly.

Here are some mainstream media’s articles about what has happened

more background information about bogovada detention centre:


There seems to be a new anti-migrant mobilisation starting right now in Serbia. This would be a third such mobilisation in the space of the last year and a half. This time, it is in the municipality of Lajkovac, close to Bogovađa, where the second Open Reception Center for Asylum Seekers is located. The center, opened in June 2011, has been overcrowded for over half a year. The asylum seekers that could not be accommodated in the center have had to sleep outside, in very difficult conditions. To “resolve” the situation, the center out-sourced the provision of accommodation of asylum seekers to an individual in the nearby villages, which accepted asylum seekers in an empty house he owned, in exchange for some finances from the authorities.

It now seems – on the basis of the two articles that appeared in the (main-stream!) press on the 4th and the 5th of February, of which the links and the (partial) translation is below – that the residents of one of these villages are protesting against the presence of asylum seekers in their municipality, claiming the presence of asylum seekers is “compromising their safety”



Translation of the first part of the article:

As was announced on the radio station of Valjevo, the city council of Lajkovac will this Tuesday discuss the problem of asylum seeker in the nearby village of Vračević, whose residents protested today against the presence of around 80 foreigner asylum seekers in their village.

GEM, the television chain of Lazarevac, reported last night that the residents of Vračević think that the arrival of asylum seekers to their village “compromises the security” of the village and that because of that, as they say, they have to accompany their children on their way to and from school.

The asylum seekers came to Vračević after the decision of the local Red Cross and the Center for Asylum Seekers in Bogovađa to resolve the problem of the over-crowdedness in the center through paying the residents of certain nearby villages for accommodating asylum seekers, 50euros per month per person.
“It is time for somebody (in Serbia) to stop and think,” said the mayor of Lajkovac Živorad Bojičić.

He pointed out that the inhabitants of Vračević “do not hate the people of color”, but are demanding that the problem of asylum seekers “is solved permanently and the right way.”

The assembley of villagers gave the local authorities time to solve the problem by the 8th of February – if they do not, they will demand the solutions from Belgrade, from the Serbian government.



Translation of the first part of the article:

The owner of the house in the village of Vračević close to Lajkovac – the house in which 82 asylum seekers, for whom there was no space in the Reception Center in Bogovađa, are staying – said today that the neighbours had nothing against the stay of asylum seekers in the village, but that some people threw stones at the house, in which the foreigners are staying.

Earlier today, the city council of Lajkovac supported the protest of the residents of Vračević and demanded that the government solves the problem of the accommodation of the asylum seekers by this Friday.

In his statement for the Beta newsagency, Dragić Stojković – who was renting out his house to accommodate asylum seeker – said that his neighbours in Vračević did not make any problems, but that some individuals threw stones at the house in which asylum seekers stayed and that the police had to intervene.

“On the 24th of January, I signed an agreement with the responsible persons, for renting out a shouse in Vračević for 50 euros per ayslum seeker per month. I invested around 4000euros in order to additionally adapt the housing,” Stojković said this evening to the Beta newsagency.

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