At least 23 people were arrested and 60 injured in Tuesday night’s clashes in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, after the president announced that he would reinstate curfew across the country to cope with an increase in coronavirus cases.
“All of the hospitals in Belgrade are practically full,” the president regretted during a television broadcast. The government has opted for a “long curfew” which will take effect on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and end on Monday at 5:00 a.m.
“Today is the hardest day since the pandemic started, today we have 13 deaths. There are currently more than 120 people with respiratory support. The situation is alarming,” he said, according to television station B92. On the last day, the country also reviewed 299 new cases of COVID-19.
A group of protesters gathered to show their discomfort at Vucic’s announcement. The protest took place peacefully and initially brought together around 2,000 people. Hundreds of them broke into Parliament’s headquarters and began to face the security forces at the beginning of a fierce battle in which the agents used tear gas and stun grenades.
Police director Vladimir Rebic has confirmed that 23 people were arrested during the riots, which also resulted in 43 officers and 17 demonstrators being injured. Rebic is confident that, after analyzing the camera images, “a significantly larger number of troublemakers can be identified”.