BELGRADE (Sputnik) – A rally against coronavirus restrictions continued in the Serbian capital for the fourth day on Friday, with protesters demanding the government’s resignation.
The government has banned gatherings of more than 10 people inside and outside but demonstrators returned to the square in front of the parliament’s building in the late afternoon.
The rally turned violent after darkness fell. A group of young protesters, some of them carrying iron bars, tried to break through police cordons and threw bottles at the officers, the Sputnik correspondent added.
Riot police wielding batons then clashed with demonstrators in a bid to push them off the stairs that lead up to the parliament building. The rioters responded by hurling firecrackers at them.
The Sputnik correspondent said violent protesters had tried to taunt the police into clashes but officers remained in their positions until the violence fizzled out. Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic told a Serbian television channel, Prva, that demonstrators had smashed windows and a CCTV camera in the parliament’s building.
The Belgrade police said a 32-year-old man was stabbed during the protest by another man in his late 40s. The suspect was detained.
The Interior Ministry said 153 people had been detained and 118 police officers hurt in clashes that had rocked Belgrade since Tuesday. Authorities estimated the damage dealt during the first night of unrest at $144,000.
According to the National Health Ministry, Serbia has so far confirmed 17,728 cases and 370 virus-related deaths. There were 386 new cases reported in the past day and another 18 patients have died.
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