Serbian environmental protesters reject lithium mining plans

Jan 15, 2022, 8:02 AM | Updated: Jan 18, 2022, 7:14 am

Environmental demonstrators hold banner showing an image of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, rea...

Environmental demonstrators hold banner showing an image of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, reading: "A traitor!" as they block a highway during a protest in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Hundreds of environmental protesters demanding cancelation of any plans for lithium mining in Serbia took to the streets again, blocking roads and, for the first time, a border crossing. Traffic on the main highway north-south highway was halted on Saturday for more than one hour, along with several other roads throughout the country, including one on the border with Bosnia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Environmental protesters demanding the cancelation of plans for lithium mining in western Serbia took to the streets again Saturday, blocking key roads and for the first time a border crossing.

Traffic on the Balkan nation’s main north-south highway was halted for more than an hour in Belgrade, the capital, along with several other roads throughout the country, including one by Serbia’s border with Bosnia.

Minor incidents have been reported with angry drivers trying to push their way through the crowds. Witnesses told N1 television that a man was injured in one incident in the western town of Sabac.

Environmental groups want Serbia’s populist government to halt the possibility of lithium mining in western Serbia. Activists have pledged to press on with blockades until their demand is met and the Rio Tinto mining company is “expelled” from Serbia.

Thousands joined similar demonstrations several weeks ago, forcing the government to withdraw two laws that activists said were designed to speed up the country’s mining plans.

“This is an ecological catastrophe, that I think Serbia is already one foot in, and even a worse one (catastrophe) is threatening,” said Belgrade resident Mirjana Podolsek.

Another protester, Janko Krizan, believes that “it is our duty to come here.”

“Rio Tinto will not only pollute Serbia, but it will pollute everything else, entire system, everything,” he said.

Rio Tinto has performed explorations in western Serbia but environmental groups want the project abolished, saying that lithium mining would devastate nearby farmland, waters and the area’s entire ecosystem.

Environmental issues have become a public concern in Serbia because the nation of 7 million people is facing bad air pollution, poor waste management and many other environmental problems that have accumulated after decades of neglect. Serbia must tackle those environmental issues to advance in its bid to join the 27-nation European Union.


Follow all AP stories on climate change and pollution at https://apnews.com/hub/climate.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, talking with forme...

Associated Press

The GOP debate field was asked about Trump. But most of the stage’s attacks focused on Nikki Haley

The four Republican presidential candidates debating Wednesday night mostly targeted each other instead of Donald Trump.

4 days ago

Law enforcement officers head into the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus after reports of an ...

Associated Press

Police say 3 dead, fourth wounded and shooter also dead in University of Nevada, Las Vegas attack

Police said a suspect was found dead Wednesday as officers responded to an active shooter and reports of multiple victims at UNLV.

4 days ago

President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, leaves after a court appearance, July 26, 2023, in Wilming...

Associated Press

Republicans threaten contempt proceedings if Hunter Biden refuses to appear for deposition

House Republicans are threatening to hold Hunter Biden in contempt if he does not show up this month for a closed-door deposition.

4 days ago

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., listens to a question during a news conference, March 30, 2022, in W...

Associated Press

Tuberville is ending blockade of most military nominees, clearing way for hundreds to be approved

Sen. Tommy Tuberville announced Tuesday that he's ending his blockade of hundreds of military promotions, following heavy criticism.

5 days ago

An employee works inside the Hanwha Qcells Solar plant on Oct. 16, 2023, in Dalton, Ga. On Tuesday,...

Associated Press

US job openings fall to lowest level since March 2021 as labor market cools

U.S. employers posted 8.7 million job openings in October, the fewest since March 2021, in a sign that hiring is cooling.

5 days ago

Megyn Kelly poses at The Hollywood Reporter's 25th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast, Dec. 7,...

Associated Press

The fourth GOP debate will be a key moment for the young NewsNation cable network

By airing the fourth Republican presidential debate, NewsNation network will almost certainly reach the largest audience in its history.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

Serbian environmental protesters reject lithium mining plans