BELGRADE (Serbia) Environmental protestors demanding that plans for lithium mining in west Serbia be cancelled took to the streets Saturday, blocking major roads and attempting to get across the border for the first time.
Traffic on the Balkan nation’s main north–south highway was stopped in Belgrade, the capital. There were also several roads throughout the country, including one at Serbia’s border to Bosnia.
Minor incidents were reported, with angry drivers trying push their way through the crowds. Witnesses reported to N1 television that one man was injured in an incident in Sabac, west.
Environmental groups are calling on the populist government in Serbia to stop lithium mining in western Serbia. Activists have promised to keep up the pressure until their demands are met and Rio Tinto is expelled.
Thousands participated in similar demonstrations weeks ago, forcing two laws to be repealed by the government that activists claimed were intended for speeding up the country’s mining plans.
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This is an ecological catastrophe that I believe Serbia has already entered, and even a more serious one (catastrophe), is threatening,” Mirjana, a Belgrade resident, said.
Janko Krizan believes it is our right to be here.
Rio Tinto will not pollute Serbia but also all other systems, he stated.
Rio Tinto has conducted explorations in western Serbia, but environmental groups want it to be stopped. They claim that lithium mining would destroy the entire area’s ecosystem, waterways, and farmland.
Serbia’s 7 million inhabitants have made environmental issues a major concern. The country is currently facing poor air quality, poor waste management, and other environmental problems that have accumulated over decades of neglect. Serbia must address these environmental issues if it wants to be a member of the 27-nation European Union.
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