20:50 GMT14 August 2020
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    BELGRADE (Sputnik) - Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Belgrade's Deputy Mayor Goran Vesic and members of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) are starting a hunger strike on Friday due to aggressive actions of the opposition, Vesic announced on Thursday.

    "I do not see any other way for us to resist hooliganism of part of the opposition in a civilized and reasonable way, who oppose improvement works in the center of Belgrade, destroy citizens’ property and expel investors from our city, except for starting a hunger strike in the city administration", Vesic said on Facebook.

    The support for the hunger strike has already been announced by the chairman of the servicemen union Novica Antic and his colleagues.

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    "Everyone has their own way. Violence in Serbia escalated, and it was absolutely and unambiguously provoked by part of the opposition", Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said.

    The leadership of the SNS led by President Aleksandar Vucic, especially Vulin and Vesich are constantly criticized and ridiculed by the opposition. Vulin is mocked for having served in the army for only 15 days at a reservist training in March this year, and Vesic for corruption scandals that became part of Belgrade political folklore, for example, with a Christmas tree worth 83,000 euros ($93,400).

    Last Saturday, participants of mass protests in Belgrade dismantled construction fences in the city centre and encircled the city assembly with them. They are now gathering a massive, nationwide opposition rally in the capital of Serbia for Saturday. According to the deputy mayor, the demonstrators want "chaos and blood on the streets".

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    Protest actions in Serbia have been held weekly since early December last year after the attack on the leader of the opposition Serbian Left (Levica Srbije), Borko Stefanovic, and his two associates in the city of Krusevac on 23 November. The Interior Ministry then stated that the suspects had been detained, but the opposition accused the authorities of allowing political violence.

    The slogan of the protesters was "One out of five million", which appeared after a comment by Vucic, who said that he would not meet the demands of the demonstrators, "even if there are five million of them".

    Demonstrators demand that those responsible for the assassination of Serbian politician Oliver Ivanovic in January 2018 in Kosovo be found, the dismissal of Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, and the change of the leadership of the national broadcaster RTS. In addition, protesters demand the resignation of the president and the government. The demonstrators had earlier demanded that the Serbian authorities fulfill their demands before 13 April.

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