NAfter the announcement of another curfew due to a massive increase in corona cases in Serbia, there were serious riots. Thousands of protesters clashed with the police in Belgrade on Tuesday evening and tried to storm the parliament building. Officials fired tear gas at demonstrators who, among other things, repeatedly chanted the slogan “resignation!” Some even managed to gain temporary access to parliament by force, but riot police pushed them back.
The protesters hurled torches, stones, bottles and eggs at the officers, causing serious clashes between suspected supporters of right-wing extremist groups among the demonstrators and police officers wielding batons. There were also clashes between protesters and the police in front of the state television building, which the opposition accuses of biasing the government. A number of police cars were set on fire.
Serbian police director Vladimir Rebic told state television that several demonstrators and police officers had been injured, but did not give an exact number. There were also smaller protests in other Serbian cities. Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic condemned the protests and blamed opposition politicians for storming Parliament.
President Aleksandar Vucic previously called the situation in the corona pandemic in the capital Belgrade “alarming” and “critical”. The hospitals were approaching their capacity limits. Therefore, his government will reinstate the curfew from Friday. It will “likely” last from 6:00 p.m. that day to 5:00 a.m. on Monday, Vucic said. In addition, no more than five people should gather as a group.
The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday that 13 people had died of the coronavirus in Serbia within 24 hours and 299 new infections had been confirmed. The total number of registered infections in Serbia rose to 16,719, 330 people died with the virus.
After one of the strictest lockdowns across Europe during the corona pandemic, Serbia recently lifted the restrictions almost completely. Many accuse the autocratic president of simply relaxing the measures to maintain power after the June 21 general election. Vucic denies that.
Experts had warned of another outbreak at mass meetings. Among other things, football and tennis games took place again in front of full ranks, night clubs and bars were reopened. Last week, a nightly closure of these bars was ordered in Belgrade.