Demonstrators take to Serbian parliament in protest over lockdown
BELGRADE (SERBIA) – A group of opposition supporters took to the Serbian parliament building in Belgrade on Tuesday in a protest against a lockdown planned for the capital this weekend to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday evening that tight measures including the lockdown of Belgrade over the weekend would be introduced because of the rising number of coronavirus infections.
Opponents blame the increase of infections on the government and say people should not have to bear the brunt of another lockdown.
After Vucic’s statement, several thousand people began gathering in front of the parliament in Belgrade’s central square.
Around 10 p.m., a small group of protesters pushed past a police cordon, barged in through a door and entered the parliament building. But police later pushed them back.
The crowd demanded Vucic’s resignation and shouted: “Serbia has risen.” The police threw teargas, pushing the crowd away from the parliament building. Police reinforcements later arrived, according to a Reuters cameraman.
Radomir Lazovic of the Do Not Let Belgrade Drown opposition group told N1 television, “People gathered spontaneously. Discontent can be felt in the air.”
Serbia, a country of 7 million people, has recorded 16,168 coronavirus infections and 330 deaths. But the numbers are spiking and 299 cases and 13 deaths were reported just on Tuesday.
Epidemiologists and doctors warned that hospitals were running in full swing and that medical workers were tired.
Serbia introduced a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus in early March.
But in late May, the Balkan country was among the first few countries to open up and set elections for June 21. During the campaign, Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) organised rallies during which people did not ensure to wear masks.
Top party officials, including the president’s adviser, were found to have infection after celebrating their election victory in a small room while not wearing masks.
Many of the opposition parties which boycotted the election criticise Vucic for using the lockdowns to strengthen his autocratic rule.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.