MUP says controversial rally in Hrtkovci has been banned

A department of the Administrative Court in Novi Sad has annulled the Interior Ministry (MUP) ban on a gathering to be organized on May 6 in Hrtkovci.

Source: B92, Beta
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(EPA. file)
(EPA. file)

The Serb Radical Party (SRS), an opposition party led by Vojislav Seselj, made this announcement on Wednesday, adding that there was now no legally valid reason to ban the rally in this northwestern village, planned to take place for two hours in front of the local Culture Center.

The party said that "any attempt to ban it would represent abuse and bring into question the independence of the judiciary branch of government."

But the Interior Ministry (MUP) on Tuesday said that the rally had been banned once again - after the organizer submitted a new request that removed the shortcomings from the original.

The incomplete first request is what prompted the Administrative Court to invalidate the MUP's ban on it, it added.

The rally was first announced by the SRS in mid-April, followed by several other opposition parties saying they would also show up and organize "counter-rallies" in order to "protect citizens."

Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said at the time, and again on Monday, that no rallies would be held in Hrtkovci, citing security concerns.

The location is controversial as the village was cited in the recent ruling against Seselj passed by the Appeals Chamber of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), sentencing him to ten years in prison for war crimes, after finding that his speech at a gathering in Hrtkovci on May 2, 1992 incited persecution, deportation, and forcible displacement of ethnic Croats living there.

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