Serbian ruling party, opposition officials trade blame for violence

Serbian ruling party, opposition officials trade blame for violence

Serbian ruling party, opposition officials trade blame for violence Izvor: TANJUG/ TARA RADOVANOVIC

Serbian ruling party and opposition officials traded accusations over the street protests in Belgrade and other cities, blaming each other for the violence during the first five days of demonstrations.

Speaking to media in a central Belgrade pedestrian street, ranking ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) official Vladimir Orlic said that the demonstrations were being organized and paid for by opposition leader Dragan Djilas. 

“Every rock thrown, every torch lit, every Molotov cocktail thrown, every injured police officer, all destruction of public and private property fall on Dragan Djilas’ face, soul and responsibility,” Orlic said.  

He added that the opposition Alliance for Serbia (SzS) wants to take power violently “by stopping the entire country, blocking all institutions and highways”.

"Djilas knows that the people don't want him and that he has nothing to win at elections and he is using violent methods, a state coup and spilling blood on the streets to come to power,” the SNS official said.  

Speaking in front of parliament earlier, Djilas said that protesters were arrested by what he called "para-police … without badges”, adding that the para-police is close to former Internal Affairs Ministry State Secretary Dijana Hrkalovic. He said that “hooligan and thug units” were under the command of Ivan Ristic, a former cabinet chief to Internal Affairs Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic.  

The leader of the Freedom and Justice Party (SSP) also showed photographs of protesters being arrested unhurt and with injuries following their release which he said showed that they had been beaten in police custody.  

“There are a lot more pictures and recordings like this. We don’t know who of them was beaten on the streets, in the police vehicles or stations or in the lobby of parliament which was turned into a jail over the past few nights,” he said.      

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