Serbia’s president has pledged to defend the country’s law and order a day after opposition supporters stormed the national TV station protesting what they say is his autocratic rule.

As Aleksandar Vucic held a news conference in the presidency building in downtown Belgrade on Sunday, hundreds of opposition supporters gathered in front demanding his resignation. Skirmishes with police were reported.

During his televised address, Vucic repeatedly branded opposition leaders as “fascists, hooligans and thieves.”

Protesters sit in front of a riot police cordon at an entrance to the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Protesters sit in front of a riot police cordon at an entrance to the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

Riot police on Saturday night removed hundreds of people, including opposition leaders, who stormed the TV headquarters to denounce the broadcaster, whose reporting they consider highly biased.

This was the first major incident after months of peaceful protests against populist leader Vucic. The demonstrators are demanding his resignation, fair elections and a free media.

Boris Tadic, center, former Serbian president, stands with other demonstrators at the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Boris Tadic, center, former Serbian president, stands with other demonstrators at the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, March 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, March 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, March 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, March 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.