Serb leader stages lavish reception and huge rally for Putin visit

Reuters
Belgrade, Serbia Updated: Jan 18, 2019, 09:25 AM(IST)

Crowd marching with banner and Putin's image. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Crowds of people marched through central Belgrade to greet Putin and Vucic during their stop in the St. Sava temple, the largest Christian Orthodox church in Serbia.

Supporters of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic held a large rally in support for the visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday in Belgrade.

Crowds of people marched through central Belgrade to greet Putin and Vucic during their stop in the St. Sava temple, the largest Christian Orthodox church in Serbia.

The rally was seen as Vucic's response to protests staged by the opposition for six consecutive weekends.

Just a day before Putin's visit, a silent march took place in protest at the unresolved killing of a Kosovo Serb politician a year ago.

The opposition protests typically gather around 20,000 people. Serbian state TV RTS claimed that 120,000-130,000 people took part in the rally for Vucic and Putin.

Many of the people took organised rides to the capital. Hundreds of parked buses lined several major streets during the rally, waiting for their passengers to return for the drive home.

Groups in the crowd carried banners declaring where in Serbia they came from, as well slogans in Serbian and Russian saying "Serbs and Russian, brothers forever" and "Thank you president for your support."

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