Serbian authorities canceled plans to lockdown Belgrade on Friday, July 10, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), following violent protests in the capital. The lockdown, originally scheduled to occur from July 10 - Monday, July 13, was organized in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 following a spike in cases in the city, however, the lockdown has been canceled following a third night of protests in the capital. Protests over the previous days have resulted in the injury of 43 police officers and at least 17 protesters, in addition to the 23 arrests being made.
Protests have been held in front of the parliament building for four consecutive days and demonstrations continue despite the cancelation of the lockdown. Clashes between police forces and protests continue.
Further unrest is expected in the near term.
On Tuesday, July 7, President Aleksandar Vucic announced that a weekend-long curfew would be enforced in Belgrade from Friday, July 10, to Monday, July 13, amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. Around 80 percent of all Serbia's active COVID-19 cases are in Belgrade, and hospitals in the capital are reportedly running close to capacity. However, large-scale protests in Belgrade on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 8, prompted Vucic to cancel the planned lockdown, reintroducing a ban on gatherings of more than ten people in the capital instead. Shops, pubs, clubs, restaurants, and other indoor spaces in Belgrade will also have there opening hours restricted over the weekend and will be closed from 21:00 (local time) on Friday.
Those in Belgrade are advised to monitor developments, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate transportation disruptions in the vicinity of demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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