Belgrade residents tell rights court of nightlife noise ‘torture’

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Serbia’s capital is vibrating with nightlife again after over a year of pandemic restrictions. Cafes, bars and fun-hungry customers are celebrating a summer boom in business and entertainment options, but the accompanying loud music and other noise are a bust for residents across Belgrade.

Since hot weather arrived and coronavirus rules eased, Nemanja Dragic, 36, said he can’t open his balcony door without a thunderous cacophony bursting into his apartment.

He used his savings to install a thicker door and sturdier windows, desperate to muffle the sounds coming from over a dozen bars and clubs.

Dragic’s apartment overlooks a downtown Belgrade street that is one of the hot spots in a European capital with a reputation for partying after dark. He said all the carousing makes it impossible to keep his windows open during much of the summer, to rest or to spend undisturbed time in his home.

“The noise is such that some neighbours just leave the city or the street or everything,” said Dragic, an engineer.

Residents of the city’s commercial areas have complained for years about deafening noise from bars, discos and nightclubs. Faced with inaction from authorities, some citizen’ associations have turned to the European Court of Human Rights, filing a case that argues they have been exposed to torture and had their rights to family life and privacy violated.

Belgrade authorities, after promising repeatedly to address the complaints, and have prepared new noise protection rules that envisage wider authority for a community policing unit.

Though not new, the noise problem became acutely visible in late June and early July as Belgrade’s nightlife exploded in full force with a series of concerts, rave parties and festivals. Partying crowds also triggered alarm over a potential virus resurgence as few events requested proof of vaccination or negative tests.

Read more via Euronews/AP