The authorities Serbs showed on Sunday many of the 13,500 weapons what they said has delivered the people since the mass shootings this month, including hand grenades, automatic weapons and rocket launcher antitank.
The authorities have declared a one month amnesty period so that the citizens deliver unregistered weapons and avoid prison sentenceswithin a disarmament campaign following two mass shootings that left 17 dead, many of them children.
The Populist President Alexander Vucicwhose government has faced public pressure following shootings at a Belgrade school and in two towns, accompanied senior police officers to view the assortment of weapons placed near the city of smederevoabout 50 kilometers south of the capital.
Officials said residents had delivered some 13,500 weapons since the amnesty began on May 8.
The photos of the place showed rows of rifles, automatic weapons and pistols neatly stacked on the floor of a warehouse, along with wooden crates filled with hand grenades.
Vucic said that approximately half of the weapons collected were illegal and the other half were registered weapons that the citizens had turned in anyway. They will all go to Serbian arms and ammunition factories to determine whether the armed forces can use them.
“From June 8, the state will respond with repressive measures and the sanctions will be very strict,” he said of the period after the amnesty. “What does anyone need an automatic weapon for? Or all these weapons?
It is estimated that Serbian It is one of the European countries with the most weapons per person. Many are inherited from 1990 wars and are in illegal possession.
Also controls will be tightened about gun owners and shooting ranges. Police officials said gun owners must have a coded safe in which to store their registered guns and those not properly stored will be confiscated.
Authorities launched the disarmament campaign after a 13-year-old boy took his father’s gun on May 3 and shoot his classmates in a primary school in the center of Belgrade. The next day, a 20-year-old man used an automatic weapon to shoot at random in a rural area south of Belgrade.
The Shootings left 17 dead and 21 injuredshocked the country and prompted calls for change after decades of crisis and instability.
The police officer otovic pjanovic He insisted that after the latest shootings “citizens became aware of the risks of having weapons at home.”
Tens of thousands of people have marched in two protests in Belgrade since the shootings, in which they called for the resignation of government ministers and the banning of television stations that promote violent content and show war criminals and delinquents.
Vucic rejected on Sunday opposition calls for the resignation of the interior minister, Bratislav Gasic, who also attended the exhibition of delivered weapons. But the president suggested that the government could resign and that he would announce some early elections in a march that he has called for on May 26 in Belgrade.
“We have no intention of replacing Gasic, who is doing a great job,” Vucic said. “What have the police done wrong?”
The opposition has accused the populist authorities appointed by Vucic of stoke violence and hate speech against their critics, disseminate propaganda in traditional media and impose autocratic control over institutions, which they claimed exacerbates divisions in society.
Protesters blocked a major bridge and highway in the capital on Friday to press their demands. Also they have been held protests in other cities and Serbian towns, in a show of mourning and outrage over the shootings and the populist authorities.
Vucic has described the blockade of the bridge as harassment, while he and other officials and media under his control have tried to minimize attendance at the protests.
(With information from AP)
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