Monday, January 17

Serbs rage against Australia’s treatment of world star – News (Echo)

Novak Djokovic’s fans in Belgrade protested against the world star being forced to sit in quarantine in Melbourne.

Listen: Serbian protest against treatment of Djokovic APP

  • Tennis star Novak Djokovic was to play in the Australian Open – but is now being quarantined in Melbourne and threatened with deportation from Australia.

  • The reason is that he has not been vaccinated against covid-19. Novak Djokovic considers himself to have been promised an exemption from the rules.

  • In both Serbia and Australia, the star’s supporters are protesting.

From Serbia, there have been strong reactions after the tennis star Novak Djokovic placed in quarantine and threatened with deportation from Australia where he traveled to play the Australian Open.

Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against covid-19, says he has been granted a medical exemption to travel to Australia. And supporters are now manifesting in support of the tennis star.

But lit candles and waving Serbian flags showed supporters of Djokovic their support outside the hotel in Melbourne where the world setter is locked. They are considered to have been treated unfairly and unworthily, and the symbolism became stronger as the Serbian Orthodox world celebrates Christmas.

In Serbia, too, people, including the tennis star’s family, have demonstrated in support of Djokovic.

It is still a bit unclear what went wrong – Novak Djokovic says he received a medical exemption from the state of Victoria and the competition management to participate in the Australian Open. And he evidently came on the plane to Australia. Once there, he was judged not to comply with national covid rules, his visa was revoked, and he was quarantined in a hotel without the opportunity to leave.

Novak Djokovic has not been vaccinated against covid-19, and has repeatedly stated his reluctance to take a syringe. In Australia, many have applauded the decision not to let him in – including the Prime Minister Scott Morrisson supports the decision – “No one is above the rules”, he has said.

But the Serbian government has reacted strongly.

President Alexander Vucic has called the treatment of Djokovic a political witch-hunt – an attitude that even the Prime Minister Ana Brnabic expressed in Sky News, where she points out that other players received medical exemptions without encountering problems on arrival.

– Yes, Novak is treated differently from other tennis players who have traveled to Australia, and that is what makes us think it is political.

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