Several thousand supporters of the Serbian opposition demonstrated in Belgrade on Sunday evening against alleged fraud in the local elections a week ago. They called for the election to be annulled. It was the seventh protest in a row. This time, the participants in the rally marched to Belgrade City Hall, which they attempted to enter by force. Police forces used tear gas against the demonstrators, local media reported. A total of 30 police officers were injured and more than 30 demonstrators were arrested.
Some people climbed onto the town hall building, threw stones and broke windows. At around 10 p.m. (local time), the police finally pushed the demonstrators away from the town hall.
An international election observation mission said President Aleksandar Vučić’s ruling SNS party had gained an unfair advantage through media influence and voting irregularities such as vote buying. Vučić said the elections were fair. He denied the allegation of election fraud on Sunday. “Vučić is a thief,” the demonstrators chanted.
The president’s party won victories in early parliamentary and local elections in many cities, including Belgrade. According to preliminary results, she received 46.72 percent of the vote. The center-left opposition alliance “Serbia Against Violence” received 23.56 percent.
However, Vučić’s party’s success in the capital on December 17th was narrow. According to the opposition, this too had only come about through massive fraud. Election observers and the media reported numerous irregularities. Among other things, buses are said to have brought people from the Serbian part of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Belgrade Arena, where they cast votes without being eligible to vote.
The demonstrators shout: “No surrender”
On Sunday evening, Srdjan Milivojević and Vladimir Obradović from the Serbs Against Violence alliance tried in vain to open the door of the town hall while the crowd chanted “Come in, come in” and “No surrender.” Another member of Serbs Against Violence, Marinika Tepić, has been on hunger strike since the elections to demand their annulment.
The Serbian Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said on Saturday evening in Belgrade that it had been reported to several violations of electoral regulations, including the activities in the Belgrade Arena.