Anti-govt protests resume against Serbia’s populist leader

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(The Associated Press) A girl blows a whistle during a protest march against President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, April 20, 2019. Thousands of people have rallied in Serbia’s capital for 20th week in a row against populist President Aleksandar Vucic and his government. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

By The Associated Press BELGRADE, Serbia — Apr 20, 2019 5:58 PM

Several thousand people have turned up at an anti-government protest in Belgrade a day after Serbia’s populist President Aleksandar Vucic held a mass rally in an apparent bid to counter months of street demonstrations against him.

Protesters marched through downtown Belgrade on Saturday demanding more democracy and media freedom in Serbia. Such marches have been held every Saturday since last December.

A former extreme nationalist who now says he wants Serbia to join the European Union, Vucic has rejected opposition allegations that he has imposed an autocracy on Serbia. He told supporters at Friday’s rally that political differences should be solved at the ballot box.

Tens of thousands of people from all over Serbia and some neighboring countries were bused to Belgrade for Vucic’s rally in a show of political strength.

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