Serbian Protesters Storm State TV, Vucic Styles Them ‘Fascists, Hooligans and Thieves”
Serbia’s leader further defied the protesters by tweeting a photo of him playing chess with the Interior Minister while the two were trapped inside the Presidency in Belgrade.
Anti-government protesters clashed with riot police in Serbia’s capital Belgrade on Sunday, after they had stormed the state TV station RTS the night before, leading Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to declare them “fascists, hooligans, and thieves”.
An array of opposition formations have been staging weekly “1 of 5 Million” rallies every Saturday since December 2018 demanding the resignation of Vucic, a former ultranationalist and aide of late Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic.
Saturday’s rally, the 14th in a row, ended with some of the opposition protesters storming the state-run RTS TV station to demand time on the air, reports Balkan Insight.
The protesters were removed by force from the state TV at around 10:30 pm, with about a dozen of them ending up arrested, according to the protest organizers.
The storming of the TV station led President Vucic to give a news conference on Sunday to condemn the act of the opposition protesters only to see the Presidency building besieged by a human chain of demonstrators demanding that he and the Serbian Cabinet resign.
The protesters managed to overcome security fences around the Serbian Presidency and tried to enter building during the President’s address before they got stopped and clashed with riot police who used tear gas to disperse them.
The resulting human chain blocked all exits of the Presidency in Belgrade leaving Vucic trapped inside for a while together with Serbia’s Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic.
Vucic, however, defied the opposition once again by tweeting a photo of him and Stefanovic playing chess inside the Presidency entitled, “a brief rest before the afternoon activities”.
“The state won’t allow you [demonstrators] to endanger anyone with violence. Everyone who partakes in violence will be held accountable,” Serbia’s President said during his news conference.
“There will be no more violence. Serbia is a democratic country, a country of law and order, and Serbia will know how to respond,” he added.
“If they break in here, I will wait for them,” said Vucic, branding the opposition leaders as “fascists, hooligans and thieves”.
“They think they have the right, 1,000 of them, to determine the fate of the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the crowds outisde chanted “He is finished!”, which was the slogan of the October 2000 uprising that led to the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic.
“It is up to Aleksandar Vucic to decide if he will be a man and resign, or a rat, fleeing through rat tunnels,” the leader of far-right Dveri movement, Bosko Obradovic, told a crowd of protesters on Sunday.
He and the other opposition leaders have called for the resignations of President Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Parliament Spokesperson Maja Gojkovic and RTS Director Dragan Bujosevic as well as for holding fair elections and guaranteeing the freedom fo the media.
(Banner image: Video grab from Balkan Insight)