7 people detained over riots in Serbia’s capital plead guilty

7 people detained over riots in Serbia’s capital plead guilty

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says he is not afraid of threats by opposition

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) - Seven people who were detained for taking part in riots in Serbia over the weekend outside the Belgrade City Assembly building have signed plea bargain agreements, the Higher Public Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday.

The office said they pleaded guilty in exchange for suspended sentences and fines. The Higher Court in Belgrade has yet to confirm the agreements.

Hundreds of residents of Serbia’s capital tried to break into the Belgrade City Assembly building on Sunday as they gathered to protest the results of snap general and local elections that took place earlier this month.

Two other suspects were released pending further legal proceedings.

In addition, the prosecution proposed to the preliminary proceedings judge of the High Court in Belgrade to order that 11 other suspects be remanded in custody as there are grounds for believing that they might repeat the criminal offense.

They will remain in custody for 30 days.

Meanwhile, student activists from the informal group ''Struggle'' gathered in the center of the capital demanding the annulment of the elections, the opening of the voter registry and the launch of an investigation into the events during the election day.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he is not afraid of the threats directed at him by the representatives of the opposition.

Zdravko Ponos, a representative of the Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition, said earlier that "Vucic doesn't have much left and will end up in the abyss.”

Vucic said he would never hide because he was elected by the people.

He said he would not allow the opposition to steal the will of the people.

"If they (attempt to) steal the will of the people, we will not let them. There is nothing more important. The will of the people is sacred. Vox populi, vox dei. The voice of the people is the voice of God. We will not let them steal," Vucic told local broadcaster TV Pink.

The protest rally was organized by the Serbia Against Violence coalition, which said the elections were marred by irregularities.

Protesters managed to breach security fences put up by police and broke windows and doors and attempted to enter the Belgrade City Assembly building, according to an Anadolu cameraman who was at the scene.

Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

According to the preliminary results of elections for the Belgrade City Assembly, the ruling Serbian Progressive Party won 39.34% of the vote and secured 49 seats, while the Serbia Against Violence coalition won 34.27%, getting 42 seats.

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