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Serbian Police Deploy Tear Gas Amidst Protests Over Controversial Elections

Serbian police deploy tear gas amidst protests over controversial elections as thousands gathered to demand the annulment of parliamentary and local elections held a week ago.

Henry Hamer
Dec 25, 20231399 Shares60839 Views
Serbian police deploy tear gas amidst protests over controversial electionsas thousands gathered to demand the annulment of parliamentary and local elections held a week ago.
Allegations of unfair practices have marred the elections, which saw the populist Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) win a sizable victory, prompting international observers to express concern.

Election Results Spark Controversy

Preliminary results from the state election commission revealed that the SNS won 46.72% of the votes in the snap parliamentary elections.
However, an international monitoring mission raised flags regarding media bias, the improper influence of President Aleksandar Vučić, and voting irregularities such as vote-buying.
President Vučić dismissed the allegations on Sunday, labeling them as lies propagated by the political opposition. He went on to suggest that the unrest was instigated from abroad, addressing the nation during the protests outside Belgrade town hall.
Referring to the demonstrators as "thugs," Vučić asserted that their attempts would not destabilize the state, emphasizing, "This is not a revolution."
Protesters chanted slogans against President Aleksandar Vucic, calling him a 'thief' and comparing him to Russian President Vladimir Putin
Protesters chanted slogans against President Aleksandar Vucic, calling him a 'thief' and comparing him to Russian President Vladimir Putin

Clashes Erupt Outside Belgrade Town Hall

As the protests intensified, riot police barricaded themselves inside Belgrade’s town hall, firing tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who attempted to storm the building.
Protesters, chanting phrases like "open the door" and "thieves," pelted the town hall with eggs. The unrest continued into the night, with police making several arrests.
The centre-left opposition alliance Serbia Against Violence secured the second position in the elections with 23.56% of the votes. The Socialist Party of Serbia claimed the third spot with 6.56%.
Serbia Against Violence has contested the results, alleging fraudulent activities, especially in Belgrade, where reports surfaced of non-residents being recruited to vote.

International Scrutiny And Continued Protests

Serbia Against Violence, adamant about the elections' annulment, sent a letter to European Union institutions, urging them not to recognize the outcome and to initiate an investigation. The protests have continued, with the opposition vowing to persist in their fight.
Police are everywhere, also on the roofs. It is obvious that they do not want to recognize [the] election results.- Nebojsa Zelenovic, leader of Serbia Against Violence
President Vučić has rejected calls for rerunning the vote, dismissing the allegations of irregularities as blatant lies.
In an address aired on pro-government Pink TV, he characterized the protests as "not a revolution" and warned against attempts to destabilize the state. Vučić claimed that the unrest was an attempted violent takeover and more arrests would follow.

International Reactions And Russia's Perspective

The unfolding events in Serbia have caught the attention of the international community. Russia accused Western countries of stirring up tensions.
The attempts of the collective West to destabilize the situation in the country are obvious.- Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign ministry spokeswoman
Despite the controversy, the Kremlin welcomed the election results, expressing hope for strengthened ties between Russia and Serbia.
The situation in Belgrade remains tense, with ongoing protests and a deepening political crisis raising concerns about the stability of the region.

Final Words

Belgrade remains engulfed in political turmoil and civil unrest following the contested parliamentary and local elections. The clash between protesters demanding an election annulment and authorities has intensified, leading to arrests and clashes outside key government buildings.
President Aleksandar Vučić staunchly rejects claims of irregularities, dismissing them as lies propagated by the opposition. The international community, particularly Russia, has weighed in on the situation, further complicating the narrative.
As the protests continue and tensions escalate, the stability of the region hangs in the balance, with uncertainties surrounding the resolution of the electoral dispute.
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