Top Serbian policeman says police were highly restrained during protest

NEWS 08.07.2020 09:39
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Source: MUP

Serbia’s highest ranking policeman Vladimir Rebic told the state TV (RTS) that the police reaction was “highly restrained” during the overnight protests which turned violent.

“I think the police was restrained to the extreme. We used physical force only when it was used against us, we were highly restrained using chemicals (teargas) at around 11:00 pm and finally the cavalry had to intervene. We managed to disperse them and we’ll use video recordings to identify the perpetrators of violence,” he said.  

The Director of Police said that 23 protesters had been arrested, five police vehicles were set ablaze and three police horses were injured. According to Rebic, the outcome of the unrest is “extremely serious”.

“We have 43 injured police personnel, the number is probably higher because the ones with light injuries did not report them. We have information that 17 protesters have been injured,” he said, adding that 23 people, who he called hooligans, had been arrested.  

Rebic said that former Dveri Movement MP Srdjan Nogo and Damnjan Knezevic, one of the founders of the nationalist anti-migrant patrols, were responsible for the protesters breaking into parliament.

He said the police would investigate to discover who organized the protests. Rebic said he was surprised that the police were stoned and added that the gathering was spontaneous with police reinforcements brought in when the crowd became aggressive.  

The Director of Police said there were some 200 police officers dealing with the protest.