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Serbia's education minister resigns over school shooting

Published 05/07/2023, 04:11 PM
Updated 05/07/2023, 04:17 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People light up candles in the temple of St. Sava following a school mass shooting, after a boy opened fire on others, killing fellow students and staff, in Belgrade, Serbia May 4, 2023. REUTERS/Zorana Jevtic/

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's Education Minister Branko Ruzic resigned on Sunday over last week's shooting at an elementary school in which eight children and a security guard were killed, amid public anger over that and another mass shooting just a day later.

The country is in shock and mourning over the two shootings: the school massacre in the capital on Wednesday and a rampage outside the city on Thursday in which eight people died.

The suspects in both cases - respectively a 13-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man - are in custody.

Opposition parties, who blame Prime Minister Ana Brnabic's government for failing to prevent the two rampages, have called on supporters to join an anti-government march on Monday evening in Belgrade. They demanded Ruzic's resignation, among other things.

"As a responsible and well-raised man, as a professional in fulfilling all public duties so far, and as a parent and as a citizen of Serbia, I made a rational decision to resign," Ruzic said in his resignation letter to Brnabic.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People light up candles in the temple of St. Sava following a school mass shooting, after a boy opened fire on others, killing fellow students and staff, in Belgrade, Serbia May 4, 2023. REUTERS/Zorana Jevtic/

Following the shootings, the government introduced a set of measures last week aimed at preventing violence in schools and reducing the number of weapons held by civilians.

Serbia has an entrenched gun culture, especially in rural areas, but its gun control laws were fairly strict even before the latest shootings. It and the rest of the Western Balkans are awash with military-grade weapons and ordnance that stayed in private hands after the 1990s wars that tore apart the former Yugoslavia.

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