- Title: Protests turn violent as thousands rally against Serbian president
- Date: 10th July 2020
- Summary: BELGRADE, SERBIA (JULY 10, 2020) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT BUILDING HURLING FIRECRACKERS PROTESTERS CLIMBING METAL BARRIERS IN FRONT OF PARLIAMENT PROTESTERS ON PARLIAMENT STEPS AFTER BREAKING THROUGH BARRIERS, FLARE GLOWING VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS WALKING UP PARLIAMENT STAIRS PROTESTERS OUTSIDE OF PARLIAMENT SHOUTING PROTESTERS RUNNING FROM POLICE EMERGING FROM PARLIAMENT, FLARE FLYING PROTESTERS STORMING TOWARDS PARLIAMENT ENTRANCE, FLARES FLYING, POLICE APPEARING AND FORMING CORDON PROTESTERS HURLING FLARES AND ROCKS AT POLICE POLICE FORMING CORDON, PROTESTERS HURLING MISSILES AT THEM CLASHES OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT FLARE BURNING BEHIND POLICE CORDON PROTESTERS THROWING RAILING AT POLICE PROTESTERS THROWING MISSILES AT POLICE, ONE THROWING MASSIVE CONCRETE SLAB PROTESTER KNEELING IN FRONT OF POLICE CROWD CHANTING AND JEERING, ONE THROWING OBJECT AT POLICE TWO PROTESTERS IN FRONT OF POLICE CORDON, FLARE BURNING PROTESTER MOVING RAILING BARRIER, CONCRETE SHARD HITTING POLICE STONES AND CONCRETE SHARDS HITTING POLICE SHIELDS MAN THROWING CHUNK OF CONCRETE AT POLICE VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CHANTING (Serbian): "SERBIA, SERBIA" PROTESTER WITH FLARE PROTESTERS GATHERED IN CENTRAL BELGRADE / SERBIAN PARLIAMENT IN BACKGROUND
- Embargoed: 24th July 2020 22:42
- Keywords: Belgrade COVID-19 Serbia Serbian parliament coronavirus protesters clash with police in Belgrade
- Location: BELGRADE, SERBIA
- City: BELGRADE, SERBIA
- Country: Serbia
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001CM8A153
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Protests marred by violence, continued on Friday (July 10) in Belgrade, where thousands rallied against Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic and government policies, including its handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Police in full riot gear and mounted units were deployed outside the parliament building to prevent Vucic's opponents from storming it. Pelting police officers with rocks and signal flares, protesters chanted "We will not give up Kosovo" and "Vucic thief."
Earlier on Friday, Vucic said that efforts by Germany and France to restart talks aimed at mending ties between Belgrade and Pristina were already paying off.
In Paris, Vucic accused his political opponents of orchestrating protests and said that if they continue it would be difficult to contain the coronavirus epidemic.
In Belgrade, one protester was stabbed in the leg in the crowd, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The demonstrations this week were at first driven by frustration over economically stifling measures to contain the pandemic, but soon evolved into anti-government rallies with participants demanding Vucic's resignation.
Prime Minister Ana Brnabic announced on Friday that "hospitals are packed with sick" and said protests posed a major health risk.
Critics say that the government's decisions to allow soccer matches, religious festivities, parties and private gatherings to resume in May and parliamentary elections to go ahead on June 21 are to blame for the new surge in infections.
Vucic dismissed those claims and dismissed protests as "senseless." "You cannot seize power using force," he said.
Serbia, a country of 7 million, has so far reported 17,728 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 370 deaths.
Serbia is the first country in Europe to have held elections since the pandemic was declared. A number of opposition parties boycotted the vote to protest Vucic's control of the media, which they said did not give them enough coverage. Vucic rejected those claims.
(Production: Fedja Grulovic, Boris Babic)
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