Belgrade,Serbia. The new Serb President was sworn into office today, but that did not slow down those opposed to his views as protests and fights errupted.Aleksandar Vucic took his oath as Serbia’s new president on May 31, during a day marked by protests and several clashes involving his supporters, opponents and journalists.

The Serb Populist leader Aleksandar Vucic was sworn in as Serbia’s president on Wednesday, pledging to work for peace and stability in the war-weary Balkans while strengthening the country’s armed forces.

Former Prime Minister Vucic has served since 2014, and despite winning the April 2 election for the presidency, he is expected to continue to lead the government.The pattern of management does not differ from past Serb governments, except the opposition seem focused on fears of a creeping, growing authoritarianism in Serbia by its current rulers.

Speaking after taking the presidential oath, Vucic said he will work for peace in Serbia and the region, and that he will communicate with everyone, offer solutions, insist on dialogue and compromise, because he deeply believes that this is the basis of all progress and a safe Balkan future.

During his three years as prime minister, Vucic repeatedly called EU membership Serbia’s “strategic goal.” At the same time, he has been strengthening ties with Serbia’s traditional ally, Russia, which has agreed to supply fighter jets and battle tanks to its military,heightening tensions in the Balkans according to NATO experts.

Just before be was sworn in as president, the assembly registered Vucic’s resignation as prime minister. His first deputy, Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, has taken over as acting head of government until Vucic nominates a long-term replacement.

While all steps were taken to project a unified Serbia, the day was full of disputes. While Vucic was about to take his oath at the parliament building at around noon, a scuffle broke out between rival groups of supporters and opponents, both heading toward the parliament building intent upon stopping the ceremony.

Following the reception, a few thousand people joined an opposition protest against Vucic. Carrying banners that read “not our president” or “against dictatorship,” opposition supporters marched through the Belgrade city center, blocking traffic while chanting slogans against Vucic and blowing whistles.

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