Reactions to Tuesday night riot in Belgrade

Reactions to Tuesday night riot in Belgrade

Reactions to Tuesday night riot in Belgrade Izvor: N1

The Tuesday's protest in Belgrade which turned violent after the police threw teargas and brought horses and dogs in dispersing demonstrators, some of whom responded by throwing stones and bottles on the police officers in riot gear, triggered many criticisms at home and from abroad.

The Citizens' Front severely condemned 'a staggering violation of human rights,' during the protest on Tuesday,adding the people rallied against "absolutely insane series of events which led to a new epidemic peak and the lack of trust in the authorities' measures and data."

"Due to one man's (Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic) hurt vanity, the police response was mere repression and an excessive," the Front said in a statement, calling on people "not to allow the regime to step on our dignity by verbal and physical abuse."

Florian Bieber, the head of the South-Eastern Europe studies at the Graz University, said the police reaction was "pretty brutal and not proportional to the danger."

He told N1 it was odd that the police reacted with restraint and that later, "when there was no danger of a new storming of the Parliament, they behaved brutally."

At the same time, the Social-Democrats in the European Parliament said they were worried about the use of the police and called on Vucic "to behave responsibly during the coronavirus pandemic finally."

"This is not a time for violence and inappropriate use of force against demonstrators," the MEPs said in a statement.

skupština, protest, demonstracije Izvor: REUTERS/Marko Đurica

 The Initiative for Economic and Social Rights, A11, called on the victims of the police brutality to address them."We call on the citizens who suffered the inappropriate use of power by the police or witnessed those cases so that we could help them in the case of (further) torture," Jana Vujic from the Initiative said.

On the contrary, Milosav Milickovic, the state secretary in the Interior Ministry, said the attack on police on Tuesday night was an example of 'vandalism.' He condemned the attack and said that every responsible society should not tolerate such behaviour.

suzavac Izvor: N1

 His statement corresponded with others given by the authorities, including Vucic.

The Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCBP) condemned what they said was the police brutality during the protest and requested an urgent investigation into the events.

BCBP demanded the Prosecutor's Office to launch a procedure into the 'inappropriate use of force by the police, and ask why police officers beat people who set on a park bench or have been arrested and lied on a pavement.'

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, said that Serbia's authorities 'have an obligation' to implement "an effective investigation into the responsibility and punish those responsible for excessive use of power by the police during the protest in Belgrade."

"The forcible disperse of demonstrators cases a serious concern for human rights. Police violence or the excessive use of power must not be tolerated ever, not even when their actions are focus on especially complex preservation of public order during demonstrations," Mijatovic wrote on her Facebook profile.

A Croatian independent MP, Bojan Glavašević went furthest, saying on Wednesday he would ask Zagreb Government to block the Belgrade accession talks with the European Union.  

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