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Thousands In Belgrade Protest Against Vucic For 12th Straight Saturday


Serbian Antigovernment Protesters Hold 12th Weekend Rally
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Thousands of people demonstrated in the streets of Belgrade for a 12th straight Saturday on February 23 – an act of protest against Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

In what has become a routine, the demonstrators assembled at a central square in Belgrade and marched toward the headquarters of Serbia’s state television -- chanting slogans in protest of Vucic's control over state media and calling for fair elections.

The crowd followed a large banner bearing the protests' motto of "1 of 5 million," which refers to Vucic's dismissal of demands put forward by protesters in December.

Vucic said in December that he "wouldn't bow to a single demand" even if there were 5 million demonstrators in the streets.

Protest organizers have so far refused to be placed under the leadership of any political bloc.

But they agreed a week ago to what they describe as a "contract" with opposition politicians in order to pursue reforms.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders last week launched a boycott of the national and local legislatures in a show of support for the protesters.

Many of the older protesters demonstrated against the government of the late Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s.

Now they say they are disillusioned by the lack of change more than 18 years after Milosevic lost power.

Vucic was Milosevic's coalition partner from 1998 to 2000 and was information minister at the time of Serbia's harshest crackdown on independent media.

But protesters also mistrust the opposition, saying they have done little to fight against corruption, economic inefficiency, and poverty in Serbia.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP