Pro-Western protesters storm Belgrade city hall (VIDEOS)
Hundreds of anti-government protesters attempted to break into the City Assembly of Belgrade on Sunday evening, in an escalation of violence that the Serbian president blamed on foreign interference and called an attempted “color revolution.”
The rioters claimed they intended “to liberate the institutions,” as they smashed the glass door while chanting “Get out” and “This is Serbia!”
Police barricaded inside the building, holding the door with their backs and shields, according to videos of the unrest. At least two police officers were injured in clashes, as protesters pelted pieces of concrete, while urging them to leave the building and “stand on the side of the people.”
National Assembly MP Radomir Lazovica, co-president of the Green-Left Front (ZLF), claimed that the opposition merely seeks to “defend the institutions” and called “on the Gendarmerie and all the forces that use force to take shelter and allow people to speak from the balcony of the assembly.”
“No one wants any harm or violence,” he said, as protesters continued to smash windows and vandalize the government building.
Once riot police reinforcements arrived, authorities quickly dispersed the crowd, arresting at least 35 “provocateurs.”
The head of Belgrade’s Temporary Council, Aleksandar Sapic, shared a video of the aftermath, showing destruction inside and outside of the assembly building.
President Aleksandar Vucic praised police for withstanding “brutal attacks” and preserving the country’s independence and sovereignty.
The anti-government protests erupted in Serbia on Monday, with the opposition accusing the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of “vote theft” during last week’s parliamentary elections that saw it win over the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition.
“Today there was an attempt to seize state institutions by force… Those who swear to fight against violence have shown that they are real thugs,” Vucic pointed out.