Ne da(vi)mo Beograd (Don’t let Belgrade Drown) was formed in 2014 in protest at the huge urban projects that aimed to turn an area of the capital’s historic city waterfront into luxurious commercial and residential buildings. By objecting in a variety of ways, from institutional engagement to civil disobedience, Ne da(vi)mo Beograd has kept the project under close public scrutiny.

Small-scale actions were followed by mass protests in 2015 and at the beginning of 2016. The watershed moment followed the demolitions of 25 April 2016, when citizens showed up in great numbers to protest, demanding resignations and laying criminal responsibility at the door of officials.

In the months to come, 10 major protests took place, each one bigger than the last. At the height of the protests, there were 20,000 people on the streets of Belgrade – the biggest civic protests since those that toppled Slobodan Milošević in 2000.

From the beginning, the initiative included direct actions and mass protests, using legal challenges to the development, as well as intense media campaigns. The development which contravenes Serbian legislation is still underway, but the protest have nevertheless injected a new sense of hope onto the streets of Belgrade. It has showed the strength of its citizens willing and ready to take back the control of their city, their lives and their future.

Protest organised by “Ne davimo Beograd” Photo credit: Igor C/Flickr

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