Serbia protests against the government’s coronavirus response turn violent


Published – July 9, 2020 10:30 am

Strong police forces fired tear gas at crowds in Belgrade and other cities as protesters pelted the police with stones and flares.

The unrest escalated as many are outraged by the government’s coronavirus response.

Serbian security forces deployed armored transporters, mounted police, and dogs as anti-government protesters gathered in downtown Belgrade on Wednesday evening. Police used tear gas with scuffles breaking out in Belgrade and Serbia’s second city of Novi Sad. Images from the city showed fire in Novi Sad city hall. In Nis, the country’s third-largest city, protesters threw rocks at the ruling party headquarters.

Protesters also pelted the security forces with rocks, flares and empty bottles in Belgrade. Some of them threw gas canisters back at the police. As the crowd grew in size, riot police pushed the protesters away from the parliament building where the Wednesday rally started. Large groups of riots police, including vehicles belonging to special anti-terror squads, patrolled the city. Some protesters carried crosses and other religious symbols and urged both the police and other protesters to refrain from violence, according to images from the scene broadcast by the regional N1 broadcaster.

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