Serbia president vows to defend law and order amid protests

Serbia’s president pledged Sunday to defend the nation’s regulation and order a day after opposition supporters stormed the nationwide TV station, protesting what they referred to as his autocratic rule and biased grip on the country’s media.

The opposition clashes with police on Saturday and Sunday in Belgrade, the capital, have been first major incidents after months of peaceful protests towards populist President Aleksandar Vucic. The demonstrators are demanding his resignation, truthful elections and a free media.

As Vucic held a news convention Sunday within the presidency constructing in downtown Belgrade, hundreds of opposition supporters gathered in entrance demanding his resignation and trapping him within the constructing for a number of hours.

Skirmishes with riot police have been reported, together with officers firing tear fuel towards the protesters who sought to type a human chain across the presidency to stop Vucic from leaving the constructing.

The professional-authorities Pink TV confirmed a photograph of Vucic enjoying chess with the inside minister apparently contained in the presidency. Vucic posted a video message on Instagram, saying “I am right here and I won’t transfer from a place they need to occupy.”

Later, he was seen leaving the building as a lot of the protesters dispersed from the scene.

“They (protesters) haven’t any energy, can do nothing … as you’ll be able to see, they haven’t any braveness, no braveness for something,” Vucic stated as he obtained into his automotive. “Nothing will come of it, nothing.”

Police stated they have been attacked and arrested a number of demonstrators. The inside minister stated the protest leaders have to be “processed” as soon as attainable.

The gang, nevertheless, chanted “He is finished!” at Vucic, which was the slogan of the October 2000 rebellion that led to the ouster of late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, architect of the nation’s bloody wars with its neighbors through the early Nineteen Nineties.

During his televised handle, Vucic repeatedly branded opposition leaders as “fascists, hooligans and thieves.”

“There can be no extra violence,” Vucic stated. “Serbia is a democratic country, a rustic of regulation and order and Serbia will know the best way to reply.”

Vucic tried to downplay the protesters’ numbers, insisting that solely about 1,000 individuals had gathered, saying “they assume they have the proper, 1,000 of them, to find out the fate of the country.”

He has additionally claimed help from outdoors the capital, saying individuals are ready to return to Belgrade to defend him.

Serbian riot police on Saturday night time eliminated lots of of individuals, together with opposition leaders, who stormed the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade to denounce the broadcaster, whose reporting they contemplate extremely biased.

Serbia’s weekly anti-government protests started after thugs beat up an opposition politician in November. A former extreme nationalist, Vucic now says he needs to steer Serbia into the European Union.

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