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Serbian leader calls on citizens to not join protest to avoid infections

Speaking of tougher lockdown measures and the introduction of a curfew, which sparked the protest, Vucic underlined that the decision will be made together with specialists

BELGRADE, July 8. /TASS/. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has urged Serbians to abandon protest rallies to break chains of coronavirus transmission, he said in a special address to the nation.

"I ask people not to protest so that it does not come to new terrible infections. We have 11 people who died in the past 24 hours, while 118 people are already put on ventilators. I ask people to behave responsibly and do not hold protests but not because it is inconvenient to some, if it’s a peaceful protest, but because you can infect your neighbors. No one can do something with Serbia in a violent manner," the president noted.

Speaking of tougher lockdown measures and the introduction of a curfew, which sparked the protest, Vucic underlined that the decision will be made together with specialists. "I back introduction of a curfew, but my colleagues [Prime Minister] Ana Brnabic and [Health Minister] Zlatibor Loncar believe that it is possible to introduce restrictions without resorting to a curfew. We’ll see what specialists will decide, this is the strength of our team, we make decisions together," the leader said.

"All perpetrators will be punished, there will be no compromise with hooligans. Violence will not pass, we will safeguard peace and stability. I will fight for Serbia in Brussels," Vucic concluded.

On Tuesday, Vucic announced a curfew between Friday evening and Monday morning in the Serbian capital due to the worsening coronavirus epidemic. Moreover, a state of emergency was imposed in Belgrade, the hardest hit region in the country. On Wednesday morning, all public gatherings of over five people are banned. Currently, Serbia has 16,719 coronavirus cases, while fatalities caused by the virus jumped to 330. Serbia has tested 455,604 people for coronavirus since the epidemic broke out.