‘Rubbish And Lies’: Serbian Police Clash With Protesters Following Alleged Election Interference

Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Protesters alleging election interference by the Serbian government clashed with police Sunday in Belgrade, the country’s capital.

Aggrieved demonstrators gathered outside of the city hall, where they smashed windows and attempted to force entry, according to BBC. President Aleksandar Vucic dismissed accusations that the government skewed the elections in favor of the country’s ruling party as “rubbish and lies,” BBC reported.

“Vucic stole thousands of votes,” hunger striker Marinika Tepic said, according to the outlet.

More than 30 protesters were arrested and eight police officers were injured during the altercation, according to Ivica Ivkovic, the head of the Serbian interior ministry’s police department, the outlet reported. Protesters claimed police reacted with excessive force.

“Those arrested are suspected of attempting to violently change the constitutional order, and of violent behavior at a public meeting according to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia,” Ivkovic said, noting that the number of people arrested was expected to increase, the outlet noted.

Radomir Lazovic, the co-leader of an opposition party known as the Green-Left Front, said police used truncheons to beat him and others, the outlet reported. Police also used pepper spray against demonstrators, BBC noted. (RELATED: Serbia And Kosovo Place Forces On Combat Alert, Close Border Crossings)

Protesters say the government bused in thousands of voters to Belgrade to swing the elections in favor of Vucic’s Progressive Party, according to the outlet.

In an emergency address on Sunday, Vucic blamed the unrest on foreign interference, the outlet reported.

“Those who swore to fight against violence just confirmed once again that they are the real thugs,” Vucic said, according to BBC.