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

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A health worker administers a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at the ...
Associated Press

FDA advisers debate updating COVID booster shots for fall

Government advisers debated Tuesday if Americans should get a modified COVID-19 booster shot this fall — and exactly how best to update it to fight a virus that surely will change even more by then. “That’s the problem — we’re being asked to more or less have a crystal ball today,” said Dr. Arnold Monto […]
12 hours ago
FILE - The Instagram app is displayed on a computer on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in New York.  Instagr...
Associated Press

Instagram hides some posts that mention abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) — Instagram is blocking posts that mention abortion from public view, in some cases requiring its users to confirm their age before letting them view posts that offer up information about the procedure. Over the last day, several abortion advocacy Instagram pages have found their posts or stories hidden with a warning that […]
12 hours ago
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, arrives to testif...
Associated Press

Former aide: Trump was told protesters had weapons on Jan. 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cassidy Hutchinson, a key aide in Donald Trump’s White House, told the House committee investigating the violent Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on Tuesday that Trump was informed that the supporters he addressed that morning had weapons but he told officials to “let my people in” and march to the Capitol. Trump demanded […]
12 hours ago
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaks about actions the Biden administration pl...
Associated Press

Biden health secretary pledges medication abortion access

President Joe Biden’s top health official said Tuesday that “every option is on the table” when it comes to helping women access abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. But the administration’s options are limited despite its strong criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision Friday. Biden called the ruling […]
12 hours ago
In this image provided by the New York State Police, Trooper Jimmy Rasaphone, right, poses for a ph...
Associated Press

Trooper crawls into drainage pipe to rescue missing dog

CONKLIN, N.Y. (AP) — A missing golden retriever named Lilah, discovered deep inside a culvert pipe in upstate New York, could not be lured out by her owner with peanut butter dog treats or cheese. In the end, State Trooper Jimmy Rasaphone decided to crawl about 15 feet (5 meters) into the pipe under a […]
12 hours ago
In this photo taken from surveillance video, Richard Cox slides down the back of a police van while...
Associated Press

Crump to represent Randy Cox, Black man hurt in police van

Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday he will lead the legal fight on behalf of Randy Cox, a Black man who was seriously injured in the back of a police van in Connecticut when the driver braked suddenly. Crump also called for a federal civil rights investigation into the treatment of Cox, 36, […]
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Serbian environmental protesters reject lithium mining plans