Police in Belgrade finally react after being attacked by aggressive rightists

Police in Belgrade finally react after being attacked by aggressive rightists

Police in Belgrade finally react after being attacked by aggressive rightists Izvor: TANJUG/Zoran Žestić

Unlike on Tuesday and Wednesday, Serbia's police did not react for hours to attacks by groups of nationalist and far-rightist protesters on Friday night, who sporadically intensified strikes on officers who defended themselves from flying stones, bottles and firecrackers only by lifting shields, but eventually fired teargas and started dispersing them, N1 reported.

Despite the Government's ban on outdoor gatherings of more than ten people, crowds rallied in Belgrade, the northern city of Novi Sad, southern Nis and several other places for the fourth night in a row of the anti-regime protest.

After the situation seemed to be calmed down, the Gendarmerie reacted only by firing teargas and moved towards the most aggressive demonstrators who starting fleeing the scene but soon withdrew to starting position.

In Belgrade, some demonstrators were trying to enter the Parliament building forcibly, and N1 reporter and cameraman were attacked while filming those who were provoking incidents.

"Four demonstrators approach us trying to chase us away and hit the mike. They didn't touch us, and we both are all right," Petar Gajic said.

Later, Milos Miskov, a photojournalist with the Beta news agency, was injured on Friday night when he was hit in the head. Emergency service took care of him on the spot.

protest Izvor: FoNet/Aleksandar Levajković

 Several reporters had been attacked and injured during the protests in Belgrade in the last four nights.

The Independent Association of Serbia's Journalist (NUNS) offered on Friday help to all media professionals who were attacked while covering the protests.

 On Friday, the nationalist demonstrators crushed the metal fence around the Parliament building, and some 100 young people were on the stairs leading to the building, unlike on Thursday, when a majority of demonstrators in several cities and towns across Serbia opted for a sit-in revolt against what they said was an authoritarian rule by President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and lies about the number of dead and infected with the coronavirus.

But on Friday, media said that some members of the banned organisation 'Obraz' (Cheek) joined the protest and addressed the crowd.

Pro-democracy demonstrators moved further from the scene but did not leave the protest.

Some of them told an N1 reporter that they came to show dissatisfaction with the current authorities but in a peaceful way like it was on Thursday.

One man said he came because "the President invited me," alluding to Vucic's speech in which he announced a new curfew due to a spike in the number of people who died from COVID-19 and those infected with the coronavirus.

Earlier, the far-righties yelled slogans against Vucic and sang songs about Kosovo, threw bottles against the building's window, but then left the stairs, while the police rushed to the scene, but did not intervene despite being peppered with stones, firecrackers and everything they had.

An N1 reporter said the anti-riot police force was small to take any action and protect themselves with shields. The most aggressive protestants yelled at police "Go to Kosovo" and "Arrest Vucic."Some other demonstrators tried to calm the most aggressive ones but failed to do that. Eventually, the situation slightly calmed down, while some of the far-rightists called on the police officers to put down helmets and shields and "be with the people."An opposition leader told N1 reporter earlier that a man was stubbed in a thigh outside the Parliament building and taken away after people tried to stop the bleeding.

He was taken inside the building."I haven't seen what happened but saw when people tried to stop the bleeding from that man's leg. He was stabbed twice," Srdjan Nogo, the leader of the rightist 'Svetlost' (Light) political organisation.

An N1 reporter said she saw at least three people arrested and taken into a police van.

The opposition Alliance for Serbia (SzS) said earlier in the day they got information from the police that the far-rightists were ready to provoke new riots.

In Novi Sad, people went for a protest walk.

The demonstrations were also held in several other places across the country. In Nis, a smaller crowd dispersed before 11 pm. No serious incident was recorded.

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