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Hundreds Protest in Belgrade Against President's Grip on Power

By VOA News May 08, 2020

In Serbia, hundreds of people took to the streets of the capital, Belgrade, late Thursday to demonstrate against the country's president, Aleksandar Vucic.

Protesters from the "Citizens' Resistance" movement accuse Vucic of curbing democratic freedoms.

"We are here because we are angry at our government, because of everything they did to us during the past two months, and even more time," said protester Biljana Stojkovic. "This is the clear repression, and we think that this is a dictatorship we are living in nowadays. So, this is not just because of COVID-19, this is because of everything else that is going on in this country."

The protest in front of the presidency building was organized just one day after the authorities lifted restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Once during the protest, participants led by some opposition leaders attempted to storm the building's entrance. Security guards did not intervene.

Critics have accused Vucic of using the state of emergency imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic to tighten his grip on power ahead of the general elections, which are to be held next month. Vucic has denied the accusations.

Some opposition parties have announced a boycott of June's election, questioning its freedom and fairness.

The opposition also accuses Vucic of controlling the mainstream media, of not allowing it to give space to critical voices.

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