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Students block key roads in Belgrade as protests continue

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Serbian police said Monday they had detained at least 38 people who took part in Sunday’s protest against reported widespread voting irregularities.


Several hundred Serbian university students and other citizens have blocked traffic at a key Belgrade street that hosts government headquarters, braving a police warning against the blockades of roads and bridges in the capital.

Serbian police said on Monday they have detained nearly 40 people who took part in a protest against what election observers said were widespread irregularities during a recent general ballot.

That ballot declared the governing populists winners of the parliamentary and local councils’ elections.

Claiming election fraud, particularly in the capital, Belgrade, opposition group Serbia Against Violence has been staging protests since the 17 December elections while some politicians began a hunger strike to protest the results.

On Sunday evening, some protesters tried to enter Belgarde’s city council building before riot police they were pushed back by riot police.

Serbia’s officials thanked the Russian security services for providing them information on the opposition protests.

With more protests planned for later on Monday, police warned they would prevent any blockades of roads or bridges in Belgrade, the capital.

Protesters on Sunday evening tried to enter the city council building before they were pushed away by riot police.

The country’s populist authorities have denied rigging the vote and described the election to fill parliament and local offices as fair despite criticism by a group of international monitors and local election observers.

President Aleksandar Vucic has described Sunday’s demonstrations as an attempt to overthrow the government with the help from abroad.

Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Monday thanked Russia for tipping off Serbia in advance that an alleged uprising was in the works.

Serbia is formally seeking membership in the European Union but the Balkan nation has maintained close ties with Moscow and has refused to join Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the aggression on Ukraine.

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