Tens of thousands demand early elections in Belgrade

BELGRADE, SERBIA: More than 55,000 people on Saturday gathered in Belgrade at a rally organized by the opposition, which gave the government two months to call elections, the state-run Tanjug news agency reported.

Leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) Tomislav Nikolić said after giving the two-month deadline that, unless the government agreed to talk, protesters would begin a nonviolent resistance in April.

Representatives of the SNS, New Serbia, Power of Serbia Movement and Socialists Movement addressed the citizens. Opposition leaders criticized the Serbian government, accusing the ruling party of corruption, crime, selling out Serbia, unfulfilled promises and the dramatic socio-economic situation.

Protesters, who gathered in front of the parliament, waved banners reading “We want prosperous Serbia” and “How much longer?,” while others waved national flags and chanted celebratory songs.

The rally was held amid a massive police presence throughout the city. No incidents were reported as organizers called for a peaceful end to the demonstration. The organizers claim that this will be the biggest opposition rally so far.

Popular discontent over worsening living conditions and rising prices keeps growing in the country. According to official figures, the inflation rate reached 10.3 per cent in 2010, one of the highest in Europe. Parliamentary elections in Serbia are due in 2012, but the current economic conditions are putting pressure on the government.


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