Sat, 24 Aug 2019

Supporters Of Serbian Leader Rally In Capital

20 Apr 2019, 04:15 GMT+10

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, for a rally to support President Aleksandar Vucic as he sought to rebuff weeks of protests aimed at toppling his government.

Police sealed off central streets in Belgrade on April 19 as Vucic's supporters arrived in buses from all over the country and neighboring Bosnia and Kosovo. Police helicopters hovered above the flag-waving rally held in front of Serbia's parliament.

Vucic, who critics say has overseen a dilution of democratic freedoms in Serbia, was expected to address the rally.

The rally comes nearly a week after opposition protesters jammed into Belgrade in what organizers asserted was the biggest outpouring of opposition to Vucic in months.

Since December, Serbia's opposition has been taking to the streets weekly to protest what they say is Vucic's autocratic rule, growing press restrictions, and other problems in the country.

The demonstrations began in December after leftist opposition leader Borko Stefanovic was brutally beaten up by masked attackers.

Long a nationalist, Vucic has attempted to remake himself as a pro-European Union reformer while seeking to maintain good relations with traditional ally Russia.

With reporting by AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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