Thousands of protesters gathered in Belgrade over the weekend, demanding the annulment of recent parliamentary and local elections. Tensions worsened as police deployed teargas to disperse the crowds, sparking clashes outside the town hall.

The Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) emerged victorious with 46.72% of the votes in the snap parliamentary elections, preliminary results revealed. However, international observers raised concerns over the fairness of the electoral process, pointing to media bias, improper influence from President Aleksandar Vučić, and voting irregularities that allegedly favoured the ruling party.

President Vučić swiftly dismissed these claims as baseless lies and suggested foreign interference in an attempt to instigate unrest. Addressing the nation during the protests, he referred to the demonstrators as “thugs” and denied the possibility of a revolution.

The Belgrade town hall became a focal point of the unrest as shielded riot police barricaded themselves inside the building. Protesters, chanting slogans such as “open the door” and “thieves,” threw eggs and broke windows in an attempt to breach the entrance. Police responded with teargas, leading to confrontations, though no immediate reports of injuries emerged.

Some demonstrators drew parallels between President Vučić and Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, chanting “Vučić is Putin.” The president’s critics argue that the elections were marred by irregularities that tilted the playing field in favour of the SNS.

As tensions mounted, police pushed the crowd away from the town hall and made several arrests. The centre-left opposition alliance Serbia Against Violence secured the second position in the elections with 23.56% of the votes, while the Socialist Party of Serbia came in third with 6.56%.

Members of the Serbia Against Violence coalition, Srdjan Milivojević and Vladimir Obradović, attempted to open the door of the town hall in a symbolic act of defiance but were unsuccessful. The crowd urged them on, shouting phrases like “get in, get in” and “no surrender.”

Marinika Tepic, a member of Serbia Against Violence, has been on a hunger strike since the elections, demanding the annulment of the results.