Serbian Prime Minister and president-elect Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday commented on a protest in Belgrade last night to say that “everyone has the right to express their opinion.”
Protests were also organized, via social networks, in Novi Sad and Nis by those dissatisfied with the outcome of Sunday’s presidential elections.
Vucic said that this was “okay as long as it’s peaceful.”
“We’re a democratic country and everyone has the right to be happy or unhappy because of the election results. Imagine if I were to call on all my supporters to go and celebrate,” Vucic told reporters.
He then added that there was “no time for protests as we should work and be even more diligent.”
“Those who have the time, it’s always fine that they protest as long as it’s peaceful… and I hope we won’t see the irresponsibility of some politicians who previously called for violence – whereas as long as somebody is expressing whether they’re in favor or against, while it’s about shouting… all that’s okay,” said Vucic.
Several thousand people – mostly youths and students – protested for several hours, shutting down traffic in downtown Belgrade.
A new protest has been scheduled for Tuesday evening in front of the National Assembly.
Beta said that anti-riot police units were present, but “did not respond to attempts to break through an improvised metal fence outside the parliament building, which features photos of the Serbs killed in the 1999 conflicts in Kosovo.”
One torch was lit, while several eggs were thrown at the parliament building, the agency said, adding that those gathered chanted “av-av-av (Serbian language onomatopoeia for dog bark, and a reference to Vucic’s initials and campaign logo, AV), “Vucic is a crook,” “Electoral fraud,” “He’s finished,” “We don’t want you, Vucic,” “Resignations.”
The rally did not feature any party insignia or banners, Beta reported.
Also on Tuesday, Vucic said that the government will financially help organizations and associations from Kosovo “to rebuild that wailing wall that has been torn down” – a reference to the fence with photographs and names of Serb victims located in front of the National Assembly, that the protesters damaged.
He noted that the final results of Sunday’s elections were still awaited, but that he expects to have won 56 percent of the vote.
Vucic said that the results from Kosovo and Metohija are coming in, and that he received 80 percent there.