Serbia president vows to defend law and order amid protests

Protesters sit in front of a riot police cordon at an entrance to the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 16, 2019. Demonst

Protesters sit in front of a riot police cordon at an entrance to the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 16, 2019. Demonst

Boris Tadic, center, former Serbian president, stands with other demonstrators at the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 1

Boris Tadic, center, former Serbian president, stands with other demonstrators at the state-run TV headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 1

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia's president has pledged to defend the country's law and order a day after opposition supporters stormed the national TV station protesting what they say is his autocratic rule.

As Aleksandar Vucic held a news conference in the presidency building in downtown Belgrade on Sunday, hundreds of opposition supporters gathered in front demanding his resignation. Skirmishes with police were reported.

During his televised address, Vucic repeatedly branded opposition leaders as "fascists, hooligans and thieves."

Riot police on Saturday night removed hundreds of people, including opposition leaders, who stormed the TV headquarters to denounce the broadcaster, whose reporting they consider highly biased.

This was the first major incident after months of peaceful protests against populist leader Vucic. The demonstrators are demanding his resignation, fair elections and a free media.