clashes with the police in front of Belgrade town hall

A man throws a stone at Belgrade town hall. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

The December 17 legislative elections sparked widespread criticism after a team of international observers denounced a series of “irregularities,” including “vote buying” and “ballot stuffing.”

Demonstrators contesting the results of recent legislative elections in Serbia attacked Belgrade town hall on Sunday, breaking windows with stones, before being pushed back by the police, noted an AFP journalist. Protesters threw stones, sticks and eggs at the building, breaking windows and attempting to force entry, but were repelled by police inside.

The police, who notably used pepper spray, are in front of the main entrance to the town hall, behind their shields. By 10 p.m. (local time), the protesters had been dispersed.

Two police officersseriously injured»

Serbian nationalist President Aleksandar Vucic, whose party was declared the winner of the December 17 legislative elections, claimed that two police officers had been “seriously injured» during the demonstration, while more than 35 people were arrested. He described the incidents as an attempt to “forcible takeover of state institutions“, adding that he had “strong evidence” whereby “everything was prepared in advance“.

No one has the right to destroy our home, destroy the property of our country and our citizens, or seriously injure our police officers», Said Aleksandar Vucic again in the evening, who spoke on Pink TV, a pro-government television channel. He had previously claimed that the authorities would “in capacity» to arrest and try those responsible for these incidents. “These scenes are dramatic (…) but there is no revolution underway and (the demonstrators, editor’s note) will not win», he said, also on Pink TV.

In a statement, the Serbian Interior Ministry called on demonstrators not to resort to violence and assured that opposition representatives had given the “guarantee that such events would not occur“.

The December 17 vote drew widespread criticism after a team of international observers – including representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – denounced a series of “irregularities“, notably “buying votes” And “ballot stuffing“. Hundreds of people demonstrated daily in front of the Serbian electoral commission and international condemnations poured in.

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