Protest chaos continues over Serbian leader

The evening before, violence erupted when a crowd stormed parliament in protest of plans to reimpose a lockdown following a new spike in COVID-19 cases.

Forty-three police officers and 17 protesters were injured and there were 23 arrests.

Although President Aleksandar Vucic hinted Wednesday he may back down from his plan to introduce a weekend lockdown, demonstrators began gathering in front of the Serbian Parliament building around 6 p.m. (1600 GMT).

In an address to the nation Wednesday (July 8), Vucic called on people to stop attending anti-government rallies to avoid a further spread of the coronavirus.

"There are no free beds in our hospitals. We will open new hospitals," Vucic said.

He accused far-right groups and unspecified regional "intelligence officials" of orchestrating riots to "undermine Serbia's position."