Thousands gathered in the heart of Belgrade on Sunday for an anti-government protest, demanding the annulment of parliamentary and local elections held a week ago. The populist Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) claimed victory in the snap parliamentary elections with 46.72% of the votes, according to preliminary results from the state election commission.
International observers, however, deemed the elections unfair, citing media bias, the improper influence of President Aleksandar Vucic, and voting irregularities like vote-buying. President Vucic, disputing these claims, insisted that the elections were fair.
Tensions escalated on Sunday when protesters attempted to break into the Belgrade town hall, housing the local election commission. In response, police fired pepper spray, and some protesters resorted to climbing the building and breaking windows, while others threw stones, chanting slogans like “Vucic thief.”
The interior ministry urged protesters to refrain from breaking into the town hall, emphasizing a calm approach to avoid injuries. President Vucic addressed the situation, highlighting the government’s effort to handle the protests with restraint.
The center-left opposition alliance, Serbia Against Violence, secured the second position in the elections with 23.56% of the vote, followed by the Socialist Party of Serbia in third place with 6.56%. Members of the opposition attempted to access the town hall, facing resistance from the authorities.
As tensions persisted, anti-riot police intervened around 10 p.m. (2100 GMT), pushing protestors away from the town hall. Marinika Tepic, a member of Serbia Against Violence, has been on a hunger strike since the elections, demanding the annulment of the contested results. The situation remains fluid, reflecting the deepening political unrest in the region.