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NEWS 03 Apr 17

Protesters in Serbia Denounce Vucic's Poll Victory

Thousands of people took to the streets of Belgrade and other cities in Serbia to protest against the victory in Sunday's presidential election of Aleksandar Vucic, claiming it marked the beginning of a 'dictatorship'.

Maja Zivanovic

Protest in front of the Serbian parliament. Photo: BIRN

Blowing whistles and chanting slogans against presidential election victor Aleksandar Vucic, thousands of Serbs protested on Monday in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, and in other towns and cities.   

Shouting “We don’t want you Vucic!” and “Vucic is a thief!”, the crowd stopped traffic in front of Serbia’s parliament, throwing eggs at the building.

The protesters than passed the building of the public broadcaster RTS  and headed towards the headquarters of the state Electoral Commission, RIK, and the government building, ending up back in front of parliament.

The protesters gathered after calls on social media claimed Prime Minister Vucic's supporters had rigged the vote on Sunday, which gave him an overwhelming victory against a string of opposition candidates and prevented the need for a second round. 

Activists announced more protests for Tuesday in the southern city of Nis and also in Belgrade.

Vucic won Sunday's election hands down, scooping about 54.9 per cent of votes cast, according to still-unofficial results.

But the opposition claimed major election irregularities occurred, including muzzling of the media and intimidation of voters.

Around a thousand people gathered in the northern city of Novi Sad, accusing the government of electoral fraud.

“The elections were rigged, and we all know that. They started to congratulate him [Vucic] at 8pm [as the polling stations closed]. How is this possible? We must stand in defence of each other because we have no more institutions,” Lazar Covs, an activist from Novi Sad, told Beta news agency.

Protests “Against the Dictatorship” were organised via Facebook with the message: “The first battle in the war for a better future begins.”

“It's time to use the Internet … for the organisation of a free voice and a real feeling that we can make a difference,” the event announcement said.

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