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Serbian president forced to use side door at TV studio after protesters block entrance

Serbian president forced to use side door at TV studio after protesters block entrance
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By Euronews with Reuters
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Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was forced to use the side of a TV studio where he was due to be interviewed after opposition protesters blocked the entrance.

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Hundreds of Serbian opposition protesters have blocked the main entrance to the building housing the country's state broadcaster, forcing the visiting Serbian president to use a side door.

Aleksandar Vucic managed to dodge the angry protest on Tuesday night, which was organised in opposition of the perceived government control of Serbian media.

It came as Vucic was due to give a live interview to the broadcaster, RTS TV, which is accused by protesters of allowing the president to stage his media appearances and avoid difficult questions.

Vucic denies these accusations.

A special police unit stepped in on Tuesday to prevent violence between the opposition protesters and around 100 of Vucic's supporters.

Vucic posted a photo on Instagram from inside the RTS studio, saying he had gone in via the side entrance.

"I would like to thank everyone for their support," he wrote.

Most opposition parties are set to boycott next year's parliamentary elections over accusations that there is not a level playing field for the campaign. European Union-mediated talks between them and Vucic's Serbian Progressive party have not yet reached agreement.

The Alliance for Serbia, a loose grouping of opposition political parties and movements, have been staging weekly rallies for almost a year to protest the rule of Vucic's Progressive Party of Serbia, which they say is autocratic, corrupt, and stifling media freedoms and democracy.

Vucic and his party have denied the allegations.

Serbia has dropped 14 places on the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index this year, ranking 90th of the 180 states.

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