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Members of military special forces to guard Serbian Presidency; Fence removed from around building

This building is only and exclusively secured by members of the Cobra Special Unit, as they did was last Saturday - says a presidential advisor

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Workers from the public company Beograd Put on Monday removed a security fence that was placed in front of the Presidency building on Andrica Venac in Belgrade.

The fence was removed on President Aleksandar Vucic's orders, and was put there after protesters tried remove a security barrier by force and enter the presidential building during a protest rally held by the "1 out of 5 million" opposition movement on Saturday.

The building is the seat of the president of the Republic, which triggered a security reaction. Vucic said he did not want the scenes from Paris repeat here, and that in the future, the Presidency building's outside security will be provided only by female members of the Serbian Armed Forces.

Removing the security fence is, according to Presidential Advisor Suzana Vasiljevic, contrary to all security recommendations and the law, but, as she said, citizens will now be able to come to the door, "so that fuss is not made out of events" such as that which resulted in the fence in front of the Presidency on Saturday night.

"This is a unique example in the world, but let's try to show what Serbia can and how Serbia is a democratic country, which has opened up the space around the building. We hope that everyone will respect this and that they will respect the buildings that are the symbols of the state," Vasiljevic said, Tanjug reported.

Uklanjanje zaštitne ograde ispred zgrade Predsednistva

Photo: Tanjug/Zoran Zestic

She reiterated that, by the order of the president, the entrance itself would be guarded by members of the Cobra special unit in the future, who will be wearing insignia and, probably, military uniforms, so that there is no speculation as to who is securing the building.

"This building is only and exclusively secured by members of the Cobra Special Unit, as they did last Saturday," Vasiljevic underlined.

She also pointed out that this is a unique example in the world where a presidential building is not secured with physical barriers.

As she said, anyone who has traveled and has had the opportunity to report from the White House, the Champs-Elysees, or any other state facility in the world knows that it's impossible to approach them, because all government facilities and all presidential residences, as well as working spaces of the president and the government are secured by high fences.

Otherwise, the president of Serbia and members of his family are guarded by the police, the Armed Forces of Serbia and other bodies in accordance with the needs of the president of the Republic and a regulation issued by the government, states the Law on the President of the Republic.

Article 8 of that legal act, "Providing Security to the President of the Republic," states that a regulation issued by the government may specify other persons entitled to enjoy the same security as the President of the Republic.

In 2010, the government of Serbia adopted the Decree on Designation of Security Protection Activities, and in 2013, the Decree on Amendments to the Regulation on Determination of Security Protection of Certain Persons and Facilities Performed by MUP, BIA, Military Security Agency and Military Police.

Aleksandar Vucic, Lesak, Kosovo

Photo: Tanjug/Dimitrije Goll

Behind these bureaucratic terms are actually the rules determining who and to what extent has the right to counter-intelligence, physical-technical, radiological-chemical-biological, and security protection.

These acts allow members of the aforementioned security services to protect the President of the Republic, the Parliament and the Government, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Interior, the Chief of General Staff, the Director of the BIA, the VBA, the VOA and the police, as well as foreign officals visiting Serbia.

Also, the aforementioned services are in charge of securing the facilities of the National Assembly, the Presidency, the Government and the ministries.

As military analyst Aleksandar Radic explains for Telegraf.rs, it depends on security estimates which service will guard which state official.

"This is determined by the decision of the Government, i.e., who is put under protection measures. Our regulations stipulate that both the military and the police are involved in the protection of these persons, depending on the estimates," says Radic.

Aleksandar Radić

Aleksandar Radic; Photo: Tanjug/Sava Radovanovic

Members of the Cobra Special Purpose Military Battalion are a part of the personal security of the President of the Republic. Since 2008, this unit has been a part of the Military Police Directorate of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces.

The Cobras are also responsible for the security of the Minister of Defense and the Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, and are also engaged in visits by senior foreign officials.

Members of the Ministry of the Interior and the Security Information Agency are also responsible for the security of the President of the Republic.

As Radic told us, the practice elsewhere in the world is very similar, with local modifications.

"In developed countries, it's usually done by civilian or police organizations," he added.


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