Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at opposition supporters in Serbia on Sunday, demanding the annulment of elections tainted by extensive fraud charges, according to Al Jazeera. Hundreds of protesters attempted to storm Belgrade City Hall on Sunday evening during demonstrations against the results of the December 17 parliamentary and local elections, which international observers say were marred by vote-buying, ballot stuffing, and President Aleksandar Vucic’s improper influence.
Opposition supporters, some yelling “Vucic thief” and “Vucic is Putin,” tried to storm into the capital’s administration building with flagpoles and rocks but were repulsed by riot police, according to Al Jazeera. According to preliminary results given by electoral authorities, Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) was returned to power with a parliamentary majority after gaining nearly 47 per cent of the ballots.
The centre-left opposition group Serbia Against Violence garnered 23.56 per cent of the vote, followed by the Socialist Party of Serbia with 6.56 per cent, Al Jazeera reported, citing the electoral authorities. Antigovernment protests in May shook Vucic and his party. They began as protests against back-to-back mass shootings that killed 18 people, including nine children, before morphing into a broader antigovernment movement targeting issues such as rising inflation and perceived government corruption.