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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 October, 2003, 19:57 GMT
Serbian workers march in Belgrade
Workers on the protest rally
Workers are worried privatisation will mean job cuts
Thousands of workers took to the streets of Belgrade on Wednesday calling for the dismissal of the Serbian Government and early elections.

The demonstration was led by a trade union said to have been close to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

A spokesman for the Independent Trade Union, which also demands a moratorium on privatisation, said 10,000 attended.

The protesters defied a police ban on marching to the parliament but there was no trouble and it ended peacefully.


Pro-Milosevic officials had addressed the rally to cheers from the crowd.

Union leader Milenko Smiljanic said: "The incapable government must go."

Many workers complain that there has been little improvement in the standard of living under economic reforms implemented by the government since Mr Milosevic was ousted in 2000.

Unemployment is said to stand at around 30% and workers fear for their jobs as the government sells off thousands of businesses to private investors.

Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug said a delegation met with the parliament's speaker Natasa Micic to put forward their demands.

She said the parliament respected the union's demands but its members, as well as everyone else, had to respect constitutional procedures.

She added that the parliament was due to open a debate on the government on Thursday which would be an opportunity to evaluate the government's work and to see whether it had the support of the parliament and citizens.

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