BELGRADE, Serbia: Skirmishes on Saturday erupted in Serbia between police and anti-government demonstrators who blocked roads and bridges in the Balkan country in protest against new laws they say favour interests of foreign investors devastating the environment.
Hundreds of people on Saturday appeared simultaneously in the capital Belgrade, the northern city of Novi Sad and other locations to block main bridges and roads for one hour in what organisers described as a warning blockade. They pledged further protests if the laws on property expropriation and referendum weren’t withdrawn.
Police officers blocked the demonstrators from reaching the bridges, which led to skirmishes as police helicopters flew overhead. The protesters then marched around while managing to stop traffic at a key bridge in Belgrade and in various central streets.
Organisers said a number of people have been detained. Police earlier have warned that any blockade of bridges is illegal.
A number of environmental groups and civil society organisations are angry that the authorities have lowered the referendum threshold and allowed for swift expropriation of private property if deemed to be in the public interest.