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Sunday, 1 April, 2001, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Sleepy Belgrade in two moods
Celebraters in Belgrade
Not all Belgraders are rejoicing at the news
The news that the once all-powerful Slobodan Milosevic is in detention is slowly sinking in for the citizens of Belgrade after two tense, sleepless nights.


I felt so happy and relieved, especially since he was seized without bloodshed

Vlada Stevanovic, student
"Are you sure that he is in jail? You know today is April Fool's day," said one of the city's taxi drivers.

It is a development that divides opinion, just as Mr Milosevic does himself.

The young are more likely to be celebrating than the old.

Firecrackers

"If someone had told me a year ago that this would happen, I wouldn't have believed it," said Dalibor, aged 27, smiling as he sold newspapers to passers-by.


This is sad - a man who is not to be blamed for anything should not be dealt with in such a way

Gordana, aged 65
A student, Vlada Stevanovic, said Mr Milosevic had ruined 10 years of her life and that his arrest came not a moment too soon.

"I felt so happy and relieved, especially since he was seized without bloodshed," she said.

Snezana Velimirovic, a 40-year-old office worker, said she and many of her neighbours had not slept for two nights.

"When I heard the news, I threw several firecrackers," she said.

Sadness

However, a 65-year-old housewife, Gordana, was unhappy.

Young people celebrate in Belgrade
Older people are less impressed
"This is sad. A man who is not to be blamed for anything should not be dealt with in such a way," she said.

And a Croatian Serb refugee, Marija, aged 54, said: "Milosevic was not to blame, he only wanted to preserve Yugoslavia and protect the Serb people."

Belgraders were also divided on how Mr Milosevic should be treated by the courts.


It's so typical of the Serbs, to fight each other all the time

Borka, pensioner
"If you ask me no court in the world is severe enough to put him on trial," said Jovanka Govkovic.

While exulting in the arrest, Vlada Stevanovic said she did not think the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague was impartial.

Realpolitik

And Branko, wandering round a busy market, said the arrest was "sponsored by Nato and its servants" in Yugoslavia.


He thought he could defy the whole world, including the United Sates

Dragan, taxi driver
Snezana Velimirovic pointed out that Yugoslavia had elected Mr Milosevic three times during his 13 years in power, and added: "Maybe we too should be tried."

Borka, a pensioner living on the country's average pension of $60 a month, said it was wrong for Serbia to arrest and extradite its own people.

"It's so typical of the Serbs, to fight each other all the time," she said.

Dragan, a taxi driver, said Mr Milosevic had been taught a lesson in realpolitik.

"He thought he could defy the whole world, including the United Sates," he said.

"But he forgot the old rule - you don't fight with the boss."

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See also:

01 Apr 01 | Europe
Europe hails Milosevic arrest
01 Apr 01 | Europe
In pictures: Milosevic held
01 Apr 01 | Europe
The downfall of Milosevic
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