Sat, 08 Aug 2020

BELGRADE -- Hundreds of protesters have gathered in the Serbian capital to signal frustration at the government's latest response to a resurgent coronavirus outbreak there and the perceived politicization of the team leading efforts to stem the danger to public health in the Balkan state.

Demonstrators led by opposition figures have also called for the release of those arrested during a late-night protest on July 7 that erupted after President Aleksandar Vucic announced new mandatory distancing steps and his intention to impose a curfew on the country this weekend.

That protest turned violent when a group of protesters broke into the parliament building while others threw stones, bottles, and other projectiles at police, prompting officers to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Police chief Vladimir Rebic said on July 8 that 43 police officers and 17 demonstrators were injured in the unrest, and five police vehicles were set on fire.

Images showed police kicking individuals and beating them with truncheons.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic expressed 'concerns' over the demonstrators' treatment at the hands of police.

'The violent dispersal of demonstrators by the Serbian police in Belgrade yesterday raises serious #humanrights concerns,' Mijatovic tweeted, adding, 'The Serbian authorities must carry out effective investigations to establish responsibility and punish the officers responsible.'

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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