Fuel prices cause trafic chaos, incident, therats in Serbia

Fuel prices cause trafic chaos, incident, therats in Serbia Izvor: N1

Drivers in Serbia blocked on Monday the roads and intersections in several cities and towns for the fourth day which was marked by an incident involving those pros and against the protests over fuel prices.

The prices of fuel in the country have risen by 0.093 Euro cents per litre for diesel and  0.076 Euro cents for petrol since the beginning of the year, with state duties participation of  55 percent in them, making drivers angry enough to cause a traffic collapse.

Though Monday's protest were smaller, an incident happened on a local Zrenjanin road passing through Belgrade outskirts of Borca, when protesters beat a man who asked why were they doing that, media said.

Police arrested three men involved in the beating later on Monday.

The protest, organised through social networks started on Friday, prompting strong condemnation of the authorities who said Serbia’s opposition parties were behind it and a ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) high ranking official called for “the state intervention” adding the demonstrations had turned violent.

"This is not a legitimate, peaceful protest, but an attempt of those who had devastated this country (previous regime, now in opposition) to continue doing that, what we will not allow happening,” the chief of Serbia’s Government Office for Kosovo and an SNS deputy leader Marko Djuric, told a news conference.

“The respective authorities have to see that those who had beaten up our fellow citizen are brought to justice,” he added.

Djuric said that during the protests there had been two more incidents when a priest was attacked, and a mother with a baby was not let through. Those events have not been independently confirmed.

Traffic police have been filming the licence plates of the parked cars, and the interior ministry said the owners would be punished for improper parking and violation of the Law on Public Gatherings.

Nebojsa Stefanovic, the Interior Minister, said that the drivers who protested should not be "so irresponsible toward hundreds of thousands of people whose right to freedom of movement they jeopardised."

“We are always ready to negotiate, but not under pressure from the street where three, four or eight people believe that they are more important than others,” he said.

Belgrade lawyers, however, said that people had a right to spontaneous protests, over the fuel prices this time, but that the regime did not understand the essence of the gatherings and was afraid of similar demonstrations “in the future when the government would have to bring some difficult decisions.”

The roadblocks were set up in capital Belgrade, the northern city of Novi Sad, a central town of Kragujevac and other places with some farmers joining Monday's protests.

There were reports that police were preventing people from blocking a motorway running through the capital, but the Interior Ministry did not comment on that.

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