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How the people once dealt with the progressives

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IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE! – THE MOB AGAINST THE PROGRESSIVES: THE "POPULAR ODYSSEY" OF 1887 AND THE MAY RIOTS OF 1889.

After the fall of the progressive government in 1887, great violence followed throughout Serbia, directed at members of the Progressive Party. Violence against the deposed progressives, after the radicals came to power in 1887, continued in various forms until 1896. During that time interval, the progressives remained almost outlawed. At first, about 140 people perished in the national riots, but the final balance of radical violence between 1887-1896. there were as many as 377 dead, destroyed property and vineyards (50 houses and 70 burned properties), displaced entire smaller villages and evicted families and individual persons from Serbia. In total, there were about 60 emigrants, including the progressive leader Čedomir Mijatović, who went into voluntary exile.

Most often, progressive champions and serfs were lynched by radical tens and companies throughout Serbia. Many victims were tortured in the most unusual and brutal way, and numerous attacks on the property of political dissidents (breaking shops, cutting vineyards, stealing the harvest, etc.) were also recorded.

The violence started already on the first night when the mass of people demonstrated in front of the house of the progressive leaders Milan Piroćanac and Milutin Garašanin. The mob also arrived in front of Garašanin's house, and when the roar of the crowd turned into stoning the house, Garašanin rushed to the window and started shooting with a gun. On that occasion, he wounded one person.

The May Riots in Belgrade started at the assembly of progressives on May 14, 1889. The choir was in the garden of "Velike pivare", and entry is only possible with an invitation. Citizens could look over the fence, and that would prove to be a fatal decision. Radical supporters were stalking them. As soon as the last speaker finished, stones flew from the park, some progressives were injured, and gendarmes dispersed the attackers. When the delegates dispersed, leader Milutin Garašanin sat down to lunch with about a hundred people. They already had the first bite, as the cannonade of stones started again. The "artillery preparation" was followed by a real onslaught of radicals armed with sticks, agricultural tools and other handy tools. The progressives tactically retreated to the brewery building. They occupied the garden, cleared the tables with food and started the final assault on the building. Then the city manager appears with the gendarmes, and the Minister of the Interior Kosta Taušanović himself, who promised the progressives security. The police escorted them under a shower of stones to Terazi, where a new fight broke out, this time even more massive. Fists were thrown, knives, sticks were used, and eventually shots were heard. Milutin Garašanin hid from certain lynching in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and a crowd of progressives in the "Kasina" hotel, which was a signal to the radicals to take "Kasina" by storm. The progressives fled through the windows, ran across the roofs, and the tavern was thoroughly demolished. Minister Taušanović tried to calm the inflamed passions, which he did not really succeed in with the crowd determined to show off. After "Kasina", they moved on to Garašanin's house and the party printing office, which were not too badly damaged, and the next day to some other buildings where the progressives were hiding.

The "May Riots" ended only when the masses accepted the appeals of Minister Taušanović. Milutin Garašanin was accused of murder in the shooting, he fled the country for a year. Sixty people were injured in the riots, while one was killed. And after that, similar things happened in all the elections in Serbia, from the transfer of teachers, to the peasants trapping the chief in the building, by surrounding him armed with axes. People still went to the hajduke straight from the polling station. Political persecution was practiced by all three strongest parties in Serbia (progressives, liberals and radicals). It is common for voters to be influenced by the police before the elections or, after winning power, officials who belonged to the rival party are thrown out of their jobs. It can be said that this was the largest inter-party political showdown in Serbia before the First World War in terms of mass, but also because of the barbaric methods of torture and torture, which eloquently testify to the degree of civilizational achievement of Serbian society at that time. However, this violence remained the most massive and brutal example of political retaliation and persecution before the communist purges of 1944.

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