"Don't call Serbia; abolish taxes and we'll come on our own"
"You have been destroying and undermining for long enough, there's been enough pillaging, it's time for someone to build and work for the future of Serbia."Source: Tanjug
President Aleksandar Vucic said this during a large rally in Novi Sad late on Thursday, addressing the opposition.
He wondered "why there is so much bile and hatred among some people who say they are involved in politics, but who want to take power above all by using violent means."
"They want to introduce a new principle - it's not important how people vote and who they support - what matters is how much noise you make and how violent you can be," he underlined.
Vucic pointed out that because of that, "we've watched them carry gallows, storm (public broadcaster) RTS with chainsaws, and before that assault Pink TV journalists in their workplace - nobody said sorry, or don't do it, and then they attacked women in the City Hall who wanted just to get out, threatened to slap them."
"They say that they are the future, and we are the past. Why do we keep silent before all that - I asked myself. Are we ashamed before those who would prevent somebody's free movement, who want to stop life with fascist methods, the ten percent who want to take power by force, and steal. We are not afraid and we will not be silent. We want to show that Serbia is decent and normal, that it wants to build and work. Although I'm not taking part in it, I am ashamed to see those people tearing out our (construction) signs, fences, while we are building one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Just as the entire downtown is being renovated in Vienna, we want to attract tourists to Belgrade and make it more beautiful," he said, referring to opposition protests aiming to disrupt works at Belgrade's Republika (Republic) Square.
Vucic added that those who who advocate coming to power by force are mistaken in one thing: "They thought that when they surround someone they would get scared and move aside."
"What are we supposed to move aside from?," he asked, to which the crowd responded by shouts of, "Arrest the bandits!"
"We shouldn't arrest them, instead we should help them come to their senses and get on the train of changes, of Serbia's modernization, of dedicated and hard working people. Everybody is welcome," Vucic said.
It is important, he added, that they are told they can do anything, hate as much as they like, but that they can't assault anyone, restrict anyone's movement or destroy what workers in Serbia are building.
"I have another message for them. I've said it countless times that I will not talk to fascist leader Obradovic and the two thieves, Djilas and Jeremic - but the obligation of everyone else in the Serbian parliament is to talk to those who are deputies. It's important that there is dialogue, not violence. Conversation, not blackmail, and no chainsaws," he said.
That is, he stressed, a message of strength, not of weakness.
Vucic also pointed out that violence and fascism never have and never will pass in Serbia, and that the rally in Novi Sad - that reports said had gathered around 40,000 people - was "proof of the citizens' commitment, of strength, security and responsibility to stand aganst this pestilence together."
"Don't pressure us"
President Aleksandar Vucic also had a message for the international community not to continue to pressure our country, adding that he would not give up on his position that before the dialogue can continue, Pristina must first revoke the taxes imposed on goods from central Serbia.
"Don't call Serbia, abolish taxes and we will come on our own," Vucic said during the rally in Novi Sad, where tens of thousands of citizens welcomed him despite the rain.
"Pristina is behaving arrogantly. They think that every kind of impertinence they expose Serbia to will weaken our country. The fact that we are decent and looking for talks and dialogue does not mean we are weak. Today Serbia is much stronger than it was 5, 10 or 20 years ago," Vucic emphasized.
He suggested that those who underestimate Serbia and wish to throw it on its knees should be aware of that.
"The message and my response to the international community, which has been pressuring us for days and will continue to call me in the coming days and pressure me to abandon the position that talks cannot continue until the taxes have been abolished, is this: you're wasting your time, don't call Serbia, abolish the taxes and we will come on our own. No type of your pressure will succeed," said the president.
There has been enough of humiliation of Serbia and enough of the disparaging of our people, he said.
"We have not done any harm to anyone, we have been fulfilling all our international obligations. But we will not allow anyone to trample on Serbia," the president stressed.