Serbian protesters try to storm Parliament; fourth day of protests

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Friday night was the fourth night in a row that Serbians protested; the protest started out against the government's anti-COVID-19 measures but has reportedly expanded into more general anti-government protests. Police director Vladimir Rebic said at least 71 people were arrested Friday night.

Anti-government protests have been taking place since Tuesday in the Serbian capital Belgrade after the government announced new lockdown measures, which the government dropped after the protests began. According to reports, criticism within Serbia has said COVID-19 cases rose because President Aleksandar Vučić eased lockdown measures to win elections which were held on June 21. Public and private gatherings were allowed in May again before the election started, including sports events, religious events, and parties.

The protesters clashed in front of parliament with the police and threw rocks, bottles and flares. As they tried to storm parliament, police in response fired tear gas at them. Director Rebic said the night's incidents injured fourteen police officers. A number of journalists were also injured after being attacked by protesters.

Some members of opposition parties have claimed violent protesters were sent by the government. President Vučić said unspecified foreign security forces were involved in the protests.