Serbia: Duck protest against waterfront development

Residents march behind a banner saying "Let us not drown Belgrade" Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Residents march behind a banner saying "Let us not drown Belgrade"

Residents in Serbia's capital have adopted a large foam duck to protest against a redevelopment project, it's been reported.

Protesters and civic groups took to the streets of Belgrade clutching toy ducks to denounce a controversial government-backed project along the banks of the Sava river which they fear will change the look of their city for ever, the 021 news website reported. The 3.5bn euro ($3.8bn; £2.5bn) project, dubbed "Beograd na vodi" ("Belgrade waterfront"), is expected to take over two decades, and see the construction of a business hub, some 17,000 residential units, as well as the biggest shopping mall in the Balkans, the Blic tabloid says. Belgrade's mayor says the project will help kick-start the economy and bring substantial benefits to local residents, but the marchers, with a 2m foam duck to the fore, chanted slogans denouncing "plunder" and saying "Belgrade does not want a bourgeoisie quarter on its waterfront."

The duck-wielding residents dismiss the project as a "scam", claiming that it will make businessmen rich at the expense of ordinary residents. In particular, they seem to be riled by the planned construction of a modern "Dubai-style" 180-metre tower which local traditionalists say will block the city's favourite views. Protesters have also played on the fact that the Serbian word for duck is also a slang word for part of the male anatomy, giving their slogans and a Twitter hashtag - the equivalent of "show them the middle finger" - a whole new dimension.

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