A group of opposition supporters stormed 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 stricter measures including the lockdown of Belgrade over the weekend would be introduced because of the rising number of coronavirus infections.
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, broke 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.
Acording to Serbian police, 43 officers were injured in the clashes, and 23 protesters have been arrested. The police rejected claims that officers used excessive force to push back the protesters.
Protesters told reporters that hey didn’t mind the curfew as much as the fact that the authorities lied to them and allowed the elections to go ahead as well as football matches with fans in the stadiums, parties and celebrations. They are also outraged that until days ago, the authorities claimed that the situation is under control and that Serbia has enough resources to fight the epidemic, but reports from some cities showed overcrowded hospitals with patients sleeping in corridors and desperate doctors trying to help them without adequate equipment.
Serbia has reported 16,168 coronavirus infections and 330 deaths so far. However, the numbers have been spiking and 299 cases and 13 deaths were reported just on Tuesday.