More than two weeks after gun attacks that left 18 dead, tens of thousands of people have protested against gun violence in the Serbian capital Belgrade. The demonstrators initially blocked two important bridges in the city, but later leading opposition politicians called on them to remain on the streets until their demands were met. At the third demonstration under the slogan "Serbia against violence", the participants once again demanded the resignation of high-ranking politicians and an end to the glorification of violence in Serbian media.

Among other things, the demonstrators are demanding that the government revoke broadcasting licenses for television stations that broadcast violent content and ban pro-government newspapers that stir up tensions by inciting against political dissidents. They are also insisting on the resignation of the interior minister and the head of the intelligence service.

The protests are already among the largest since the mass demonstrations that led to the resignation of then-ruler Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

Government condemns protests

Representatives of President Aleksandar Vucic's Serbian Progressive Party condemned the protests as a "politicization" of the bloody acts, the aim of which was to attack Vucic. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who is closely allied with Vucic, accused "foreign intelligence services" of stirring up unrest in order to destabilize Serbia.

The president himself had announced a large-scale "disarmament campaign" after the deadly attacks. He himself announced a demonstration for next week, which he said would be the "largest gathering in Serbian history".

In the first of the two gun attacks, a student shot eight children and a security guard with one of his father's weapons in a Belgrade school in early May, and one girl died on Tuesday, almost two weeks after the attack. Less than 48 hours after the bloody attack at school, a 21-year-old killed eight people in several villages near Belgrade. Education Minister Branko Ruzic resigned as a result.

According to government figures, more than 6,8 firearms are registered in the country of 760.000 million inhabitants. According to the Small Arms Survey (SAS) research project, 39 percent of the population owns a gun – in no other European country is the proportion so high.