Tensions Rise in Belgrade: Protests and Clashes at City Assembly Amidst Electoral Dispute


In Belgrade, tensions soar as protesters clash with police at the City Assembly, demanding justice amidst allegations of electoral fraud, signalling a pivotal moment in Serbian politics.
DEC 24-12-2023

In the heart of Belgrade, the atmosphere has grown increasingly volatile as citizens and members of the opposition coalition “Serbia Against Violence” gather in protest outside the City Assembly, escalating to a point of shattered glass and confrontations with the authorities. The situation, marked by its intensity and public outrage, has become a focal point of the city’s current political unrest.

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The protests, now in their sixth consecutive night, originally sparked by allegations of electoral fraud, have seen a significant rise in tension. The Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) building, standing as a symbol of the electoral process, has become the epicenter of these demonstrations. In a turn of events, citizens, driven by a sense of injustice, resorted to breaking the glass doors of the City Assembly, met by a police response involving the use of pepper spray.

Amidst the chaos, a group of determined students has issued an ultimatum to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, demanding action on their requests by Sunday evening. Central to their demands is the verification of the electoral roll. They have threatened to escalate their protests to block the entire city of Belgrade by Monday if their concerns remain unaddressed.

The protests are not just a fleeting moment of dissent but are underscored by a series of hunger strikes led by prominent opposition figures. Marinika Tepić, vice-president of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SSP), has been on a hunger strike for seven days, joined by other former legislators and representatives of the coalition. Their action speaks to the depth of their commitment and the seriousness of the allegations they raise.
As the protests unfold, emergency services have been a constant presence. An ambulance was seen at the City Assembly, attending to an individual who reportedly fell ill amid the unrest. This incident highlights the physical toll these events are taking on participants.

Adding to the heated atmosphere, legal expert Sofija Mandić made a bold statement, accusing the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of losing the elections and demanding a peaceful transfer of power. She labeled the current government as ‘usurpators’, reflecting the opposition’s view that the current administration lacks legitimacy.

A particularly poignant moment in the unfolding drama involves Marinika Tepić, who, after addressing the protesters, was reportedly prevented from re-entering the RIK building. This action has been perceived as a symbolic and literal barring of the opposition from the electoral process, further fueling the protesters’ determination.

Radomir Lazović, a legislator from the Green-Left Front, has called upon the police to allow council members into the City Assembly to address the gathered citizens. In his appeal, he emphasized the need to avoid violence and accused the city parliament members of being the true instigators of aggression. His words reflect a broader sentiment among protesters who view themselves as defenders of democratic institutions against what they perceive as an oppressive regime.

The protests have also spread to other cities, including Niš and Ljig, indicating a national dimension to the crisis. Srđan Milivojević, Deputy President of the Democratic Party, echoed the calls for the police to side with the people, intensifying the standoff at the City Assembly.

As the situation continues to develop, the eyes of the nation and the international community remain fixed on Belgrade, where the struggle for political legitimacy and the fight against perceived electoral injustices are dramatically unfolding.

Redaksia, diplomacia. dk nuk e merr përgjegjësinë për pikëpamjet e autorit në shkrimin e botuar!


Botuar: 25/12/2023

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