Thousands of anti-government protesters staged a demonstration in front of President Aleksandar Vučić's residence in Belgrade on Sunday, March 17, demanding increased freedom of the press, free and fair elections, and the president's resignation. Clashes reportedly broke out between demonstrators and security forces outside the presidential residence, with police using pepper spray to disperse protesters who attempted to station a truck with loudspeakers near the building; police also reportedly fired tear gas at demonstrators in front of the presidential building. Protesters then marched to the main police station in Belgrade, calling on authorities to release protesters arrested in related demonstrations held in the capital on Saturday, March 16.
Similar protests are to be expected in Belgrade and other major urban areas in Serbia over the coming weeks. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
The protest movement, noted by the slogan "#1od5miliona" (#1of5million), began after political opposition leader Borko Stefanović was assaulted by a group of unidentified individuals in November 2018. The demonstrations, ongoing since December 8, have been organized to denounce perceived political abuses of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party and the lack of media freedom in the country, and to demand the resignation of President Vučić.
Individuals in Serbia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate localized traffic disruptions and a heightened security presence near demonstration sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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