BELGRADE – Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside Serbia’s parliament for the second day in a row in support of tennis star Novak Djokovic. Srdjan Djokovic, Djokovic’s father, spoke again to a crowd about the treatment of his son who is detained in a converted hotel in Melbourne used to house illegal migrants.

Srdjan has called for protests until the world’s number one tennis player is released.

Supporters of Novak Djokovic protest in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.

Speaking at the rally, Srdjan Djokovic described his son’s struggle to play at the Australian Open as a fight against “globalists who want to ruin everything.

“He is fighting for himself, his people and all freedom-loving nations in the world.

They hate him because Australian politicians have put pressure on people to hate him because he thinks with his own brain.”

The conditions in which Djokovic is being held have been met with outrage not only from his family and the public but also from Serbian politicians.

A supporter of Novak Djokovic holds a banner that reads: “Death to Fascism” during the protest in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. 

Djokovic was originally granted a visa with medical exemption to enter Australia and to compete at the Australian Open. However, upon arrival at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on Wednesday, the Australian Border Force rejected Djokovic’s visa and detained him after 8 hours of interrogation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Djokovic did not “provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons”.

In contradiction to the prime minister, Tennis Australia, the national governing body for the sport, said:

“The medical exemption was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.

A Federal Circuit Court judge will decide on Monday whether or not to stop the federal government from deporting Djokovic. Until then, he will remain in hotel detention at the Park Hotel in Melbourne’s Carlton district.

Detainees of the Park Hotel have complained of finding mold and maggots in their food. Djokovic has also claimed to have found “bugs” in his room. The hotel itself does not have a tennis court leaving Djokovic unable to train.

A report by FRANCE 24 English:

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