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Crisis 1999
News Archive 1999

More than 150,000 people at opposition rally in Belgrade

Vuk Draskovic booed

More than 150,000 people gathered at the Aug. 19 rally of opposition supporters in central Belgrade, where deep divisions between the two largest opposition factions were confirmed.

The organizers of the rally, people gathered around the Stability Pact for Serbia, called for the resignations of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, the Serbian and federal governments, and that transitional governments be formed in Serbia and Yugoslavia. Opposition parties agreed on this demand a month ago.

Vuk Draskovic, the leader of the largest parliamentary opposition party, the Serbian Renewal Movement, put in an unexpected appearance at the podium, although he was not on the announced list of speakers, and in a long speech called for the scheduling of early elections in Serbia and peaceful changes, telling the assembled people that transitional governments cannot be formed in the streets. Draskovic's speech was interrupted with whistling and shouts "Vuk, go away!" Immediately after his speech, Draskovic left the rally.

Before his appearance, the member of the group of 17 independent economists, Mladjan Dinkic, said that all those who negotiate with Milosevic today will be tried by the people, while the leader of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, who also spoke before Draskovic, said that the opposition gave the authorities a 15-day deadline to give their answer to the demands for forming a transitional government.

On behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the gathered people were addressed by the Bishop of Hvostan, Atanasije. Among the speakers were the coordinator of the Alliance for Change, Vladan Batic, the chairman of the Democratic Alternative, Nebojsa Covic, the chairman of the Democratic Center, Dragoljub Micunovic, the chairman of New Serbia, Velimir Ilic, and the spokeswoman of New Democracy, Rebeka Srbinovic.

There were no major incidents, apart from one tear-gas container thrown in front of the podium by an unknown person.

Source: Beta Press

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