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Thousands march through snowy streets for Serbian democracy

Published
People light torches and march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Several thousand people have marched through snow-covered streets in Serbia's capital to protest the populist government of President Aleksandar Vucic for an eighth week.

The protesters accuse Vucic of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that was involved in a series of wars during the 1990s. He denies the accusation.

Braving freezing temperatures, the president's critics blocked traffic in the center of Belgrade as they marched by the state TV building and toward the government headquarters on Saturday.

The organizers want Vucic to ease what they say is a tight grip on Serbian media. He is a former extreme nationalist who now says he wants Serbia to join the European Union.

The protests started after thugs beat up an opposition politician in November.

People march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People hold a banner that reads: ''#1 out of 5 million'' during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A woman holds leaflets reading
People hold a banner that reads: ''#1 out of 5 million'' during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People hold a banner that reads: ''#1 out of 5 million'' during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A woman holds leaflets reading
A woman holds leaflets reading "He's finished!" during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People light torches and march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People light torches and march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People march during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The protesters are seeking to keep up the pressure on Vucic whom they accuse of stifling hard-won democratic freedoms in the Balkan country that went through a series of wars in the 1990s'. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)