Last week, demonstrations in the Balkans, Southeastern and Eastern Europe continued at similar levels and over the same issues as weeks prior. Key developments were the deterioration of the situation regarding migrants at the Greek border, and protests in Russia following the fifth anniversary of the murder of the prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov.
In Serbia protests against the government continued, spearheaded by the major opposition parties organizing a boycott of the upcoming elections of 26 April. Several smaller parties have since announced they will be participating in the elections.
Protests in Montenegro continued for the tenth week over the Religious Freedom Law, which according to the Serbian Orthodox Church targets its properties unfairly.
In Kosovo, PM Albin Kurti offered to partially lift 100% tariffs on the import of Serbian goods. The move sparked a small protest by Alliance for Freedom of Kosovo (AAK). Lifting of the tariffs is Serbia’s condition to continue reconciliatory negotiations with Kosovo (Balkan Insight, February 27).
In Greece, the situation at the border deteriorated. A handful of demonstrations and violent clashes between police and local citizens were reported over the construction of new migrant facilities (AP, 27 February 2020). Thousands of refugees, while attempting to cross into Greece, clashed with Greek police and military forces at the Evros border with Turkey, after Turkey announced it would no longer stop migrants going to Europe (InfoMigrants, 02 March 2020).
In Romania, several protests were held by locals against the establishment of coronavirus quarantine locations in their counties (Digi24, 27 February).
In Russia, demonstrations over familiar issues continued at levels similar to weeks prior, including over waste management and pension reforms. Protests over various issues, including political repression, were also sparked by the fifth anniversary of the murder of prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov (RFE/RL, 29 February 2020), with the largest protest in Moscow reportedly attracting over 22,000 people (Moscow Times, 29 February 2020).
In Ukraine, people staged several anti-Russian protests dedicated to the sixth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea. In the Donbass region, fighting between Ukrainian government forces and separatist rebels continued at similar levels compared to the week prior, with 108 armed clashes and 177 shelling incidents resulting in one reported fatality.
© 2020 Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). All rights reserved.