Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • Israeli navy attacks Hamas base as tanks line up along Gaza border

    Read more

  • French court lifts mayor’s ban on Muslim hijab at beach

    Read more

  • Rival Libyan militias exchange heavy fire at Tripoli airport

    Read more

  • Holland beat hosts Brazil 3-0 to finish third in World Cup

    Read more

  • Germany vs Argentina - history and genius clash in World Cup final

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament resumes session on key appointments

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

Europe

Protesters flood the streets of Belgrade calling for early elections

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-06

Tens of thousands of protesters hit the streets of Belgrade Saturday calling for political reform and threatening further demonstrations if early elections are not held ahead of a scheduled May 2012 parliamentary vote.

AFP - Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Belgrade on Saturday for a major opposition rally calling for the government to call early elections or risk new protests in April.

Some 70,000 people gathered for the rally in front of the Serbian parliament in central Belgrade, an AFP correspondent said. Police estimates put the figure at 55,000.

"I know you are dissatisfied, filled with resentment. We are many here today, so many that no one can stop us," populist Tomislav Nikolic, the leader of the nationalist Serbian Progress Party (SNS) told the crowd.

"I am not asking (the ruling party) to step down, elections will take care of things... Give us two months to let them call early elections," he asked his supporters to chants of "We want elections!"

If new elections are not called by April "you will find me here again on the streets and you can join me" for new protests, Nikolic vowed.

He said the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt had sent a message to rulers to listen to their people.

"Shouldn't we send a message to Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and (President Boris) Tadic to listen to their people?" he asked.

Parliamentary elections are next scheduled in Serbia for May 2012. Nikolic's SNS is hoping to cash in on growing discontent as Serbia struggles with rising prices, high inflation and high unemployment.

Many protesters came from Serbia's legions of the older unemployed and were bussed in from outside of the capital.

"It's our misery that brings us here. We want change, elections, we want things to be better for us," 53-year-old Andjelka Gvero told AFP.

Nada, an-out-of-work saleswoman from Novi Sad who would not give her last name, said she felt abandoned by the current pro-European government.

"Nobody takes care of us, the citizens. Our businesses go bankrupt, we are unemployed. Any change is good," she said.

Despite police fears that football hooligans would start riots at the rally, the protest passed peacefully and ended without any incidents reported.

Some 4,200 police officers were deployed to monitor the protests and the SNS also provided its own security services.

Last October football hooligans protesting the first Gay Pride parade in Serbia in almost 10 years clashed violently with police. The riots left 150 people injured, mainly people officers, and caused millions of euros (dollars) in damage.

Serbia was hard hit by the global economic crisis and is still struggling with high inflation and unemployment, fuelling social unrest.

According to official figures, the inflation rate reached 10.3 percent in 2010, one of the highest in Europe. The average monthly salary was about 390 euros (535 dollars) per month in December.

However economists warn that figure is skewed by high salaries in the big cities and that a majority of the country's 7.5 million people live on a monthly income of between 80 and 120 euros.

The government in January decided to raise prices on controlled items like oil, sugar, flour, coffee, milk, fuel, meat, heating and public transport, adding to popular discontent.
 

Date created : 2011-02-05

Comments

COMMENT(S)