by Saker’s Johnny-on-the-spot in Belgrade for The Saker Blog

Alexander Vučić’s tyranny demonstrated its hubris today by finally arresting one of its most outspoken and fearless opponents, the Serbian Savonarola, Orthodox monk Anthony. The monk spoke day in and day out at rallies in front of the parliament building, denouncing the tyrant and all his works. The arrest was preceded by a dirty week-long campaign against the cleric in media controlled by the regime, culminating last night in a public statement by Vučić himself, targeting the monk by name.

The rest of the story followed a recurrent tin-pot dictatorship scenario. The monk was detained by traffic police while driving his vehicle approaching the provincial city of Valjevo, about 100 km from Belgrade. Unphased, Father Anthony turned on his mobile phone camera and managed to record the proceedings. Initially, the traffic policemen, who obviously were “just following orders,” were polite and as considerate as they dared to be under the circumstances. They requested that the monk get into their patrol car to be taken to police headquarters. When Father Anthony flatly refused, demanding they first explain to him the nature of the violation for which he was being detained, the policemen who were obviously ill at ease could not come up with anything. After a stand-off lasting about ten minutes, they called for reinforcements in the shape of secret police officers in civilian clothes, who simply took the monk away without bothering with legalistic niceties. The incident, as filmed by Father Anthony, can be viewed here and is bound to be illuminating not just for Serbian speakers, but also those who are not:

In a matter of minutes, the news of the arrest, which occurred around 10 a.m., spread like wildfire throughout Serbia. Serbs in Serbia and abroad were shocked and the outrage galvanized them to demand Anthony’s immediate release. It is difficult to speculate what the regime intended to do with the monk after taking him into custody, but student protesters are routinely being handed down 30 to 60 day prison sentences for much less. It seems, however, that strong public support for Father Anthony had an impact. After several hours’ detention in Valjevo, in the afternoon the monk was released and in the evening could already be seen milling around with the crowds in front of parliament on the eighth day of protest.

The regime’s incredibly stupid act is bound to cost it dear. Father Anthony was the iconic (no pun intended) image of the protests. He was taunting Vučić literally until the day before, denouncing him for high treason and the criminality of his regime, but publicly expressing doubt that they would be so foolish as to arrest him, for fear of generating huge amounts of free publicity for their determined opponent. Evidently, the good father has been proved wrong on that point. It is always a mistake to underestimate the political idiocy of a cornered, paranoid regime.

It seems that the regime’s debacle with Father Anthony is producing some domino effects.

Only yesterday, the psychopath Vučić was gloating on television about fear being instilled by his tontons macoutes in the young people they had imprisoned. But his glee was short-lived. Today, he was faced with strong public backlash and demand for the release of all prisoners. Such as twenty year-old student Igor Šljapić, who was sentenced last week to 30 days in the Padinska Skela detention center for not displaying a sufficiently humble attitude to the policeman who had stopped him on the street near parliament, with no lawyer being allowed to attend: C:\Users\hp\Desktop\Anti Vucic protests\Student Igor Sljapic - 30 days in prison for carrying a protest sign.jpg

Igor Šljapić in detention

When approached by the police, Igor was holding a sign with “Stop the violence” written on it. It subsequently came to light that he was also an activist for the “Krov nad glavom” (Roof overhead) humanitarian group, dedicated to helping citizens being cast out onto the street by Vučić’s debt collecting squads for infractions such as failure to pay utilities, which earned him additional enmity from the powers that be. But miraculously, this afternoon it seems he is also being released, to placate the public because of the high profile of his case. Undoubtedly another ripple effect of the public outrage over the arrest of Father Anthony.

Next in line for release under public pressure (tyrannies do not do apologies, of course, so none is expected) is the young sociologist Dr. Vladimir Mentus, coincidentally also a housing rights activist who was arrested by the regime and, without the benefit of legal representation, packed off to serve a 30-day sentence.

Dr Vladimir Mentus

The regime really shot itself in the foot, however, when its undisciplined goons in the city of Kragujevac arrested a youth by the name of Bogdan Raonić, a brilliant Serbian mathematician and student at the prestigious École Polytechnique in Paris, who just happened to be visiting his family at the time when the trouble erupted. According to his mother, after his disappearance there was no word of his whereabouts for two days. Bogdan was awarded a stipend by the French government to study at the École Polytechnique, where he is currently a top student.

Bogdan Raonić

Once it became known that Bogdan had been picked up by the police, who apparently are too provincial to grasp the consequences of holding such an embarassing prisoner just as their cappo de tutti capi was visiting the President of France, all hell broke loose for the regime. Bogdan’s professors in Paris and the French media reacted with fury. Again, the insecure regime capitulated to strong pressure and Bogdan was released after, according to his mother, spending several days and nights with barely any food or water in its dungeons. „I always cried at the airport when seeing him off to France,“ Mrs. Raović confessed. “But for his return this time, I will get him a one-way ticket. Shame on you, Serbia!”

Indeed, but while a mother’s anguish is perfectly understandable, the shame is not on Serbia but on the criminal gang oppressing it, with the psychopathic tyrant at its head. After eight years of misrule, these pictures, all taken during the last few days, encapsulate the triumph of his policies and political wisdom:

As well as these disgusting scenes in Kragujevac of packs of police bloodhounds chasing down a lone young man:

With all due respect for Mrs. Raonić, her country has many faults but for this it is not to blame. Its deranged ruler is, and the place where he belongs is right here:



The Essential Saker IV: Messianic Narcissism's Agony by a Thousand Cuts
The Essential Saker III: Chronicling The Tragedy, Farce And Collapse of the Empire in the Era of Mr MAGA