Supporters of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic burn flare as they wait for his arrival for his campaign rally "The Future of Serbia" in front of the Parliament Building in Belgrade, Serbia, April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Marko Djurica. The Banner reads: "The future of Serbia".
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Thousands of people from all over Serbia flocked to Belgrade’s city center on Friday in a show of support for President Aleksandar Vucic, who has faced five months of opposition protests.
Speech - Rally - Vucic - Dialogue - Opposition
In a lengthy speech to the rally, Vucic called for a dialogue with the opposition, adding, “But we are not going to take any ultimatums”.
The crowd, rallied by a band of drummers, waved with signal flares and Serbian flags, chanting “Aco (Aleksandar abbreviated) the Serb” as Vucic took the stage in front of the country’s parliament building.
Man - Vucic - Savior - Serbia - Nevenka
“We have no man better suited to lead us than Vucic, he is the savior of Serbia,” said Nevenka, 28, a waitress from the southern city of Nis who gave only her first name.
Vucic, an ultranationalist during the Balkan wars in the 1990s, embraced European values before coming to power in 2012. In coalition with the Socialists of Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic he controls 160 deputies in the 250-seat parliament.
Opposition - Protests - December - Media - Freedoms
The opposition, which started weekly protests in December, accuses him of stifling media freedoms and turning a blind eye to corruption and what they call the “criminal activities” of his close associates including his brother. Vucic strongly denies the allegations.
“Today is the day for our Serbia,” Vucic told the crowd.
SEEKING - SUPPORT - FOR - KOSOVO - DEAL
SEEKING SUPPORT FOR KOSOVO DEAL?
Some analysts said Friday’s rally, a grand finale of Vucic’s “The Future of Serbia” campaign, was an attempt to cement popular support ahead of a long-awaited landmark deal with Kosovo, Serbia’s...
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