Elections that were meant to consolidate the rule of Serbian president-elect Aleksandar Vučić have backfired, producing the biggest mass demonstrations since the revolution that overthrew dictator Slobodan Milošević in October 2000.
The spark was voting irregularities: opposition candidate Saša Janković accused Vučić of stealing 319,000 votes in the April 2 first round poll--almost 10 percent of the total vote, and enough to secure the former prime minister outright victory in the first round of voting.
The trajectory of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (Srpska Napredna Stranka, SNS) is now widely seen to be veering toward authoritarianism, after parliament was suspended a month before the election and the Electoral Commission was stacked with pro-Vučić operatives.
The demonstrations have continued daily since the election, peaking at 50,000 in Belgrade on April 8. They meet at 6 p.m., march, give speeches and then agree to do the same the next day. Protests of thousands went ahead in Novi Sad, in the north of the country on the banks of the Danube River, even after the street lights were turned off.