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At least 7 arrested after violence in Serbia's opposition protests

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Staff Writer | March 18, 2019
At least seven people were arrested after violent incidents in Belgrade that took place in the protests of the opposition coalition "Alliance for Serbia" on Saturday and Sunday.
Belgrade protest
Europe   Several thousand protesters and opposition politicians gathered
After Saturday night's violent entry into the building of RTS, Serbia's public broadcaster, several thousand protesters and opposition politicians gathered at another protest Sunday at noon, occupying all exits from the presidency building during a press conference of President Aleksandar Vucic.

Vucic said at the press conference that he has no plans to negotiate with opposition politicians, while he asked the protesters to withhold from violence, because they will have to answer for their deeds in front of courts.

"They chose a tough nut to crack. I am not scared of them at all," Vucic said.

He advised people that disagree with the political agenda of the ruling party, not to allow to be used for political ambitions of opposition leaders, and be led into committing violence.

Police confirmed that two people were arrested for suspicion that they had brought in a chainsaw to the building of RTS and waved it in front of the employees in this media house.

Moreover, police brought into custody a suspect who allegedly has broken the glass door of RTS, while four more people were arrested for attacks on police officers - three for Saturday night's occupation of RTS, and one for attack on a policeman near the venue of Sunday's protests in front of the presidency building.

Among the political leaders at the protests were former mayor Dragan Djilas, and the former foreign minister Vuk Jeremic, who several years ago campaigned to become UN Secretary General.

After several hours of Sunday's occupation, protesters and opposition politicians changed their original plan to force Vucic to speak to them - and moved on to a nearby police station where the arrested protesters were allegedly held in custody.

While protesters attempted to break into the police station and demand release of their comrades, the venue was secured by heavy police forces

After some tension during which protesters threw bottles at the building of the police station, they dispersed at around 6 p.m. local time.