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Crisis 1999
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Opposition plans rallies for change across Serbia

2106 free serbia

A Serbian opposition group, the Alliance for Change, announced on Monday that it would soon start organizing demonstrations across the republic calling for early elections and democratic change. The Alliance for Change said demonstrations would start in central Serbian towns. "On Saturday we'll gather in Cacak and Kraljevo to demand early elections on all levels and freedom of media", said Vladan Batic, the Alliance's coordinator at a news conference. Batic said the Alliance had chosen Cacak for the first rallies because its mayor, Velimir Ilic, was forced into hiding after criminal charges were brought against him for organizing a rally during the state of war, declared on March 24 when NATO launched its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. He added that the Alliance would decide on Wednesday whether to go ahead with the rallies in the event that police banned the demonstrations and the state of war was not lifted by the weekend. Under the state of war public gatherings are prohibited. Milan Protic, another Alliance official, said: "This is the last minute to reverse the present political course in Serbia and to demand the responsibility of those who have had unlimited power in the decision-making process over the last 10 years", referring to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's 12 years of authoritarian rule. "We're not talking here and now about the usual political struggle and fight for voters' confidence. We're talking about a mere survival of the people and the country", Protic said. He said he expected the authorities would bow to mounting pressure for change and predicted that in the next few months it would call early elections. "There will be no money, there are three million jobless people, there is a flow of Kosovo Serb refugees, there is internal discontent within the security forces over yet another lost war (against NATO)," Protic said. "The ballot box is the only peaceful way out of all that", he added.

Source: Free Serbia

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