BELGRADE, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- In response to an attempted takeover by the Serbian opposition at the Belgrade City Assembly on Sunday, police detained 38 protesters, the country's police officials said on Monday, adding that eight policemen sustained injuries while defending the assembly.
Chief of the Police Administration Ivica Ivkovic provided details at a press conference on Monday, revealing that a gathering of 2,490 protesters occurred in front of the City Assembly. Within the crowd, numerous individuals engaged in violent actions, targeting police officers at the entrance with stones, clubs, sticks, and pyrotechnics.
"Thirty-eight individuals have been processed, primarily for incitement to violent change of constitutional order, as well as for violence and inappropriate behavior at public gatherings," said Ivkovic, emphasizing that investigations are ongoing and he expected the number to increase.
While highlighting police's patience during the escalating tension on Sunday evening, Ivkovic said using coercive measures was a legitimate response to restore public order.
The demonstration on Sunday marked the sixth consecutive protest since the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) and the City Electoral Commission (GIK) declared preliminary results of the December 17 elections.
According to the results, the coalition led by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), titled "Serbia Must Not Stop," secured 46.64 percent of the votes, while the opposition coalition "Serbia Against Violence" obtained 23.65 percent. The difference between the rivaling coalitions was narrower in the capital of Belgrade, where the ruling coalition won 39.35 percent, with the opposition garnering 34.26 percent.
Following the release of preliminary election results, opposition leaders attributed their defeat to election fraud.
With new protests scheduled for Monday in Belgrade, Ivkovic urged and warned representatives of "Serbia Against Violence" to "refrain from any violent acts, especially attacks on state institutions and police officers."
"Any form of violence, traffic and bridge blockades will not be tolerated. The police will take all necessary measures, apprehend, and prosecute those causing disturbances," said Ivkovic.
Serbia's National Security Council held an emergency session on Sunday evening, condemning the attempted breach into the City Assembly and violation of constitutional order. ■