Serbia

Protecting arrested demonstrators by protesting outside the police stations where they are being detained

The Serbian police made an habitual response to all actions of arresting activists. The arrests threatened to demoralize young activists and intimidate them into giving up. Otpor! (“Resistance!” in Serbo-Croatian) prepared secondary demonstrations — their “Plan B” — outside police stations to respond immediately to arrests during protest events. The police were less likely to beat or detain the activists, knowing that large crowds and a number of journalists were waiting outside for them, while the activists felt less afraid, thanks to the support they knew they were receiving.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Using humor to put an oppressive government in a lose-lose situation

The nonviolent civil-resistance movement initiated by Otpor! In Serbia used satire and other unconventional ways of successfully spreading its message of resistance against the tyrannical regime of Slobodan Milosevic.

The Milosevic regime ruled over Serbia and Yugoslavia for about 13 years. To maintain control, the Milosevic regime was infamous for arbitrary arrests, beatings, imprisonment and even murder of avid opponents.

Plan B: Using Secondary Protests to Undermine Repression

Activist holding flowers in front of policeThe Otpor! student movement in Serbia built a broad constituency of support by continuously innovating and combining tactics to ensure the safety of their volunteers and break down the fear of its people to speak out against the government. The content of the notebook focuses on “Plan B,” one tactic they used to do this. When Serb authorities began arresting demonstrators, Otpor!’s support base could have disintegrated due to fear.

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