Multiple police assaults on reporters during the protests in Serbia

Protests in Belgrade, 8 July 2020; Photo: Twitter / KRIKrs

BELGRADE – Journalists from the Beta news agency and Nova.rs portal were reportedly attacked by the police while covering protests in Belgrade and other cities in Serbia on Wednesday night.

Two Nova.rs portal reporters were assaulted by the police while covering protests in Belgrade, which escalated into a large-scale unrest.

According to the portal, one of the reporters was hit on the fingers with a baton and had her phone knocked out of her hand while the other one was pushed. The incident happened a block away from parliament on an intersection after the police had pushed protesters down the street.

“Both had shown their press cards to the police but they weren’t interested and continued shoving and attacking them,” the portal reporetd.

Additionally, Beta news agency reported that the police also beat up one of its reporters after he identified himself as a journalist.

On the other hand, public broadcaster RTS crew reported assaults by the protesters in the cities of Novi Sad and Niš. While during the incident in Novi Sad a cameraman had his arm hurt and camera broken, RTS reporters in Niš were verbally attacked by protesters but were kept safe by reporters from the independent news portal Južne vesti.

Clashes between the police and groups of protesters in downtown Belgrade continued on Wednesday evening after several thousand people gathered in front of the Serbian Parliament for the second night in a row.

Large gatherings of people originally started out peacefully, but the clashes with police ensued after provocations which the opposition members deny they had organised. Several opposition politicians accused the groups affiliated with the ruling party of infiltrating the protests and escalating tensions with the police.