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Serbian protesters blockade gov't buildings in capital over election results

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the Serbian capital of Belgrade Saturday, again protesting what they call fraudulent federal election results from earlier in the month which saw Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his party win 47% of the vote. Photo by Andrej Cukic/EPA-EFE
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the Serbian capital of Belgrade Saturday, again protesting what they call fraudulent federal election results from earlier in the month which saw Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his party win 47% of the vote. Photo by Andrej Cukic/EPA-EFE

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the Serbian capital of Belgrade Saturday, again protesting federal election results from earlier this month.

Protestors repeated their calls for the country's Dec. 17 election results to be thrown out, alleging fraud on behalf of president Aleksandar Vucic's ruling party.

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Demonstrators surrounded Belgrade's city hall in a 24-hour blockade, meant to draw attention to what they call "election theft."

Large crowds filled the square at the heart of the city, while several images of occupied tents lining streets were also seen on social media.

"Since we don't have a public media service to bring out the things that are happening, and we don't have access to the public service to give us the opportunity to talk about them, we will have to talk on the street," activist Ivan Bjelic told the online publication Balkan Insight in an interview.

Thousands of people congregated on Christmas Day to protest against Vucic's party's electoral victories at the national, regional and municipal levels.

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Vucic in November dissolved the country's parliament. His Serbian Progressive Party then won 47% of the votes on Dec. 17, which has led to widespread discontent among the country's 6.8 million population.

Opposition parties contend Vucic's snap election was held under "unjust" conditions, arguing the results should be annulled.

The landlocked Central European nation retains strong ties with Russia while also pursuing membership in the European Union.

Russia on Friday accused Western powers of meddling in Serbia's internal political affairs.

"We see that there are very serious components of this Western intervention in Serbia, interference in internal affairs," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russia's state-run news agency TASS.

"Most importantly, Serbia and the Serbian people have this immunity. It is a major ordeal, it is a long road of countering the onslaught from the West which Serbia is now trying to cope with, but I believe in them. I am convinced that no matter what scenario is being plotted by the West, the Serbian people have something to respond to."

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