Serbian President Wavers on Virus Curfew After Violent Protest

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Serbia’s health authorities may hold off on reinstating a virus lockdown in the capital Belgrade this weekend after plans for a 59-hour curfew triggered violent street protests, President Aleksandar Vucic said.

The Balkan nation’s dominant politician, whose Progressive Party won June 21 general elections by a landslide, appeared to back down Wednesday from the plan he announced a day earlier, saying it’s up to a special crisis committee to decide on social distancing measures.

“I though that we should introduce curfew, and I still think it’s the only solution,” Vucic told reporters. He described violence by mostly right-wing protesters on Tuesday as “political,” accusing opponents and unnamed foreign countries for allegedly instigating violence in order to destabilize his Serbia.

Riot police used tear gas to repel rock-throwing, mostly right-wing demonstrators who briefly broke into the parliament building in central Belgrade in the biggest outbreak of violence against Vucic since he came to power in 2014. Seven protesters and 13 police were injured, according to police.

The protests kicked off after Vucic said a surge in new cases of Covid-19 was at risk of overwhelming hospitals.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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