Thousands of protesters gathered for a fifth consecutive night on Saturday evening (local time), July 11, in the vicinity of the Serbian parliament building in Belgrade to protest government policies, including coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures. Protesters have voiced their concerns that COVID-19 restrictions have severely hampered the Serbian economy and have called for the government to be more transparent in their response to the pandemic.
Previously, on Friday, July 10, Serbian authorities canceled plans to lockdown Belgrade from July 10 - Monday, July 13 following violent confrontations with security forces. Clashes with police on Friday led to 14 police officers being injured and at least 71 people arrested.
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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