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Thousands rally against leader Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade

Associated Press logo Associated Press 8/04/2017
A protester holds a banner depicting Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, during a protest in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, April 8, 2017. Some thousands of people are blowing whistles and banging pots outside the Serbian government headquarters to protest the election of powerful Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic as the country's new president. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) © The Associated Press A protester holds a banner depicting Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, during a protest in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, April 8, 2017. Some thousands of people are blowing whistles and banging pots outside the Serbian government headquarters to protest the election of powerful Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic as the country's new president. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia — Blowing whistles or horns and banging pots, more than 10,000 people protested on Saturday against Serbia's powerful Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and his election as the country's new president.

The protests in Belgrade and other Serbian cities marked the sixth day in a row of demonstrations against Vucic's election triumph last weekend.

The noisy crowds first gathered Saturday outside the Serbian government headquarters in central Belgrade, joining hundreds of policemen and soldiers who were holding a separate rally over low wages and poor living standards.

Chanting "Vucic, thief, you stole the vote!," the demonstrators then marched toward the police headquarters.

The protests by mostly young people have been held every day since Sunday's election when Vucic polled 55 percent of the votes and avoided a runoff election. Opposition groups have alleged irregularities, including muzzling of the media during the campaign, voter intimidation and bribes.

Student groups have demanded replacement of the state election commission, the state TV editors and the parliament speaker.

Vucic brushed the claims aside.

"I am thankful to the citizens for the massive support that only encourages me to work more," he said. "It is important that the protests are peaceful and democratic and all will be fine."

Government officials claim the demonstrations are organized by opposition leaders, who have denied doing so.

"We have tried to induce change within the system and we have failed," said protester Djordje Djolovic.

"All that's left for the people is to fight outside of the system, on the streets, with no violence, but with determination, and to the end," he said.

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