Thousands of Serbians march demanding fairer media, end to political violence

Reuters Belgrade, Serbia Dec 23, 2018, 05.19 PM(IST)

File photo of Serbia protest. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

It was the third large protest held in the Serbian capital since an assault on Borko Stefanovic, leader of the small Serbian Left party on November 23.

Thousands rallied in Belgrade on Saturday in protest against President Aleksandar Vucic's policies and demanding an end to political violence as well as fairer reporting from the country's public broadcaster.

It was the third large protest held in the Serbian capital since an assault on Borko Stefanovic, leader of the small Serbian Left party on November 23.

Opposition activists say Vucic is an autocrat and brand his Serbian Progressive Party as corrupt. They also claim that he has control over much of the Serbian media, which gives him an unfair advantage.

Vucic's approval ratings have slipped somewhat since he won a 2016 presidential vote by a landslide, but he remains the country's most popular political leader and his ruling coalition has a comfortable majority of 160 deputies in the 250-seat parliament.

Opposition protests have been relatively rare in Serbia since the popular unrest that ousted former strongman Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

Vucic, a nationalist firebrand during the violent collapse of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, later embraced European values and set Serbia's membership in the European Union as the country's strategic goal. He also maintains close ties with Russia and China.