Serbia | First anniversary of elementary school shooting

(Belgrade) With a minute of silence observed across the country, Serbia paid tribute on Friday to the victims of a shooting in a school in the capital Belgrade, where 10 people died a year ago.

The massacre last May (nine children and a guard killed), followed by a second bloody shooting (eight dead) the next day, hit the Balkan country, leading to large demonstrations and a government initiative to “disarm” the country.

Schoolchildren, parents and residents of Belgrade braved the rain in front of the Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School on Friday morning to lay flowers and light candles near the entrance.

The crowd sheltered under umbrellas in front of an artwork displaying photos of the victims of the worst school shooting in Serbia’s recent history.


The crowd sheltered under umbrellas in front of an artwork displaying photos of the victims of the worst school shooting in Serbia’s recent history.

“Over the past year, we have not paid enough attention to all the questions that still trouble us – such as why this tragedy happened, what its consequences are, and most importantly, what we need to change about ourselves. themselves and in society to prevent such a tragedy from happening again,” said psychologist Aleksandar Baucal, who is part of a team working on a memorial to the attack.

Sirens sounded to mark a minute of silence at 8:41 a.m. (2:41 a.m. Eastern), the time the attack began, and radio and television programs paused.

“A year has passed since the unprecedented tragedy that left a scar on the soul of the entire country, but the pain, disbelief and immense sadness are still there,” said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

The parents of the teenager who shot are currently on trial in Belgrade. The alleged shooter was 13 years old at the time of the attack, and therefore not criminally responsible under Serbian law.

Prosecutors said the father trained his son to shoot, failed to properly secure his guns and ammunition and allowed his son to put a pistol and 92 rounds of ammunition in his backpack which he then used to shooting.

The mother is also charged with illegal possession of ammunition.

After the tragedy, President Vucic vowed to “disarm” the country through an ambitious plan aimed at reducing both illegal and legal weapons.

Less than 48 hours after the shooting, a second killing took place 60 kilometers south of the capital, when a 21-year-old man shot dead eight people with an automatic weapon.

The killings sparked large anti-government protests, with tens of thousands taking to the streets demanding the resignation of some officials and an end to the glorification of violence and a gangster culture in the media.

Mr. Vucic has rejected demonstrations with “political” aims and peddled conspiracy theories about foreign powers organizing the rallies.

Serbia has the highest gun ownership rate in Europe, with more than 39 firearms per 100 civilians, according to the Small Arms Survey project.


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