Serbia’s President told the Belgrade Pink television late on Sunday that it probably was a mistake that the police hadn’t been sent to the state RTS main building earlier when a group of protesters entered it by force.
Earlier on Sunday, he told reporters the police behaved extremely cautious and patient despite violent individuals who provoked them.
But, he added, “no more violence would be tolerated."
Serbia’s police director Vladimir Rebic said on Monday that 18 people were detained in the last two days in connection with the protest and for entering the RTS building, nine of whom accused of violating the Law on public order and peace, while eight face criminal charges. Rebic said the announced deadline was senseless since the detained were now in the hands of the courts and the police could not call anyone in the courts.
In his second appearance in the day during the most serious #1 in 5 million protests in Belgrade so far, Vucic said the demonstration in front of his office “did a great job since people could see everything and since it became clear that there won’t be any unpunished violence.”
Vucic used the opportunity to describe again the opposition leaders of “lying and being violent,” adding that even after the Sunday’s protest he would win more votes in an election that he had won earlier, he told the TV which is considered close to the authorities.
He said that elections are due in 2020, but did not exclude he might call them earlier.
Vucic said Serbia was competing to bring Volkswagen factory to the country with four other countries: Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and another one he did not name. He said Serbia was more stable, stronger and better than its friendly states, and accused the participants in #1 in 5 million protests of undermining their country’s interests.
After Saturday’s protest outside the RTS headquarters during which a group of demonstrators led by Bosko Obradovic, the leader of the nationalist Dveri movement entered the building to demand a few minutes in the main evening news, Vucic called a news conference for Sunday at noon.
Obradovic called on people who police forced out by pushing and dragging them out of the RTS building and those who gathered outside in support to come to Vucic’s news conference at the presidency’s building.
The people responded and encircled the building in the live chain to prevent Vucic from leaving his office. A bit further from the building some sporadic clashes between the police and demonstrators occurred after police officers tried to stop the sound lorry, used at every Saturday protest in Belgrade, to get closer to the rally.
After the later protest outside the main police building peacefully ended, Obradovic gave the authorities a deadline until 3 pm on Monday to release all detained.
Vucic said he could have left the office at any time during the protest but “did not want anyone to be hurt.” The protesters called him out all the time.
“If I left earlier several people would have been hurt, and that's something I did not want to happen,” he told the TV.
When the protesters moved to the police HQ, Vucic left the office and was met by a small group of protesters who chanted “liar” and booed at him.
Asked about Kosovo, Vucic told the TV the demarcation with Pristina was unavoidable since half of the world think the border should remain the same, while the other half disagree with that.
He said it was important for that (the demarcation) to be determined, as it was equally essential “to learn how to live next to each other without fighting.”