Monday, June 12, 2023

Following the early May mass shootings, bomb threats are sent to dozens of Serbian schools

 BELGRADE: The education ministry said on Wednesday that bomb threats were made to dozens of Serbian schools due to concerns about security following two mass shootings early this month, one of which occurred in an elementary school.

Early on Wednesday, 78 elementary schools and 37 high schools in Belgrade, according to the education ministry, received email notifications that alleged explosive devices had been planted.

Students were evacuated and classes were postponed while the buildings were inspected by police. There have been no reports that any of the schools contained bombs, and the police have not yet released a report.

In the past, multiple threats of a similar nature have been sent to school addresses in Serbia and other countries in the region. Each of these threats turned out to be untrue. However, following the shootings on May 3 and May 4, which resulted in 18 deaths and 20 injuries, the threats could exacerbate security concerns even more.

Police have already been stationed in schools and a gun control campaign has begun.

A 13-year-old boy opened fire at an elementary school in central Belgrade with his father's gun in the first shooting. A day later, in two villages south of Belgrade, a 20-year-old man shot randomly at people with an automatic weapon. The shootings shocked Serbia and sparked calls for action. After the shooting, tens of thousands marched in two demonstrations against violence, and additional demonstrations are planned for Friday.

Because they air violent content and feature war criminals and other figures from the criminal justice system on their programs, opposition parties are calling for the resignation of the interior minister and the chief of intelligence, as well as the cancellation of two pro-government networks' nationwide broadcast licenses.

Additionally, opponents have accused populist President Aleksandar Vucic of using hate speech against critics and restricting democratic freedoms, both of which, according to them, contribute to the troubled Balkan nation's divisions and tensions.

Vucic has denied this. He has suggested that a snap election could be held by September and has scheduled his own rally for May 26.

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