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Protest in Belgrade over virus measures turns violent a second night

A protest in Belgrade against Covid-19 measures turned violent for the second consecutive evening on Wednesday, with clashes also breaking out in Serbia's second-largest city, Novi Sad.

A protest in Belgrade against Covid-19 measures turned violent for the second consecutive evening on Wednesday, with clashes also breaking out in Serbia‘s second-largest city, Novi Sad.

Demonstrators began first throwing flares and bottles at police in a cordon. Tear gas canisters were also deployed, but the Interior Ministry swiftly issued a statement that it was the demonstrators.

The protest went ahead even though President Aleksandar Vucic backtracked on a promise from Tuesday that a long weekend curfew will be imposed because of the deteriorating Covid-19 situation.

In Novi Sad, the offices of Vucic’s Progressive Party had been ransacked, local TV networks reported.

TV footage from the scene in Belgrade showed demonstrators on the steps in front of the parliament entrance, throwing flares and other objects at the building.

Several thousand people gathered in front of the parliament in the late afternoon, continuing the protest against planned restrictions related to a surging Covid-19 outbreak.

Several cordons of police in full riot gear were deployed at the parliament building ahead of the protest, with mounted police and police dogs along the sides.

The protesters jeered and often hurled verbal abuse at officers facing them across the metal railing.

Police did not respond or react to any of the insults.

Over the first two hours, the only incident was an attack on an opposition leader, Sergej Trifunovic. A group of men chased Trifunovic several hundred metres, bloodying his head.

The actor-politician returned to the crowd a little later with a bandaged head.

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