This Is How You Bring Down a Dictator

Featured Video Play Icon

A political activist who helped bring down Slobodan Milosevic gives a 101 on how to topple a dictator.

For some, democracy is not in the air. Nearly half of the world’s population is ruled by autocratic governments. In such countries, opponents of the regime are often silenced. This is usually in the form of prison, torture, execution or a combination of the three.

According to Srdja Popovic, a political activist, toppling a “dictator may not sound like an easy task, but it’s doable. Me and my friends succeeded in bringing down the bad guy named Slobodan Milosevic back there in the ‘90s.”

Milosevic was a Serbian dictator who was the president of Yugoslavia. Known as the “’butcher of the Balkans,” he was indicted by The Hague tribunal for war crimes committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, but he died in his prison cell in 2006 before the trial was over.

Popovic, whose Otpor movement helped bring down Milosevic, has taught political activists in more than 50 countries about how to demonstrate non-violently. In this video by The Economist, he talks about how to bring down a dictator. Chief among them is the “holy trinity of success.” This includes unity, planning and non-violent discipline.

For Popovic, “There is a big danger in taking democracy for granted. Democracy is like love, you need to make it every day.” Try telling Kim Jong-un that.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: motttive / Shutterstock.com

For more than 10 years, Fair Observer has been free, fair and independent. No billionaire owns us, no advertisers control us. We are a reader-supported nonprofit. Unlike many other publications, we keep our content free for readers regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to pay. We have no paywalls and no ads.

In the post-truth era of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, we publish a plurality of perspectives from around the world. Anyone can publish with us, but everyone goes through a rigorous editorial process. So, you get fact-checked, well-reasoned content instead of noise.

We publish 2,500+ voices from 90+ countries. We also conduct education and training programs on subjects ranging from digital media and journalism to writing and critical thinking. This doesn’t come cheap. Servers, editors, trainers and web developers cost money. Please consider supporting us on a regular basis as a recurring donor or a sustaining member.