Serbs protesting against the resumption of weekend curfew

Serbs protesting against the resumption of weekend curfew

Coronavirus is still shaking the world with over 12 million cases and 567,000 deaths confirmed across all the continents.

With 18,073 confirmed cases and 382 deaths, Serbia is one of the countries still fighting this highly contagious world pandemic and its government has been accused of falsifying the figures which they denied.

Tuesday, July 7, was the last straw when Serbian President ALeksandar Vucic announced the resumption of weekend curfew. During the announcement, the president said that Serbia had relaxed too much, made many mistakes, and that was the individual fault of all Serbs.

The announcement, which has been in effect since the following Wednesday, banned all public gatherings of five or more people, either indoors or outdoors. The long curfew started on Friday and should last until Monday.

Though this is one of the steps to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Serbs have taken to the streets angrily. Demonstrators who were outraged by pointing their fingers flocked to the center of the capital that evening.

While many are wondering who these protesters were, what caused the outrage, and whether the demonstrations that have become violent could endanger the rule of Vucic that has been accused of growing authoritarianism, many are also considering the spread of COVID-19 as many demonstrators never followed the COVID-19 measures.

As the Serbian government has been battling the outbreak, there has been a buildup of pressures over how they responded to it.

Initially, the authorities played down the dangers, by swinging from Ultra-tight lockdown to a speedy return to normal last month ahead of general elections in each Vucic retained the seat.

This led to critics falling the Vucic for the decision that many think it was the cause of the second wave of infections witnessed starting the 21st of June.

Some protesters voiced why they were protesting. Jelina Jankovic, one of the protesters, said that the government simply cares about their interests, while the people are just collateral damage.

While the government was tracing the curfew, protests continued against a leader accused of trampling on Serbia’s democratic institutions.
The demonstrations were non-partisan, with the groups extending from left to far right.

There were young people and families as well as groups that hold religious icons and flags of the former Serbian province of Kosovo.
On the first day of protest on Tuesday, an extreme right-wing group at the head of the front broke into parliament and triggered clashes with the police, in which tear gas was fired.

Most nights begin peacefully before gangs of demonstrator hurl stones, torches, and firecrackers at police officers.

On Thursday, some demonstrators sat in front of the parliament to show that they were at peace. Many of them accuse the government of planting “provocateurs” to discredit them.

Analysts have projected that these divisions could impact the move. One said that if no political leadership is identified, the protests are likely to die as they could be kidnapped by the far right, which could result in loss of popular support or the creation of multiple clashing factions.

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