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The BBC's Colin Blane
"The headlines sum up the remarkable events of the weekend"
 real 28k

Monday, 2 April, 2001, 21:10 GMT 22:10 UK
Belgrade press review
Belgrade Central Prison
Reports say the Central Prison is very basic
By Colin Blane

The headlines sum up the remarkable events of the weekend - "Milosevic taken to prison in the presidential BMW", "Dictator surrenders", "Milosevic's first night in jail".

One front page quotes Milosevic's wife Mira as saying she can't spend time talking to reporters because she has to take lunch to her husband in jail

Different papers, of course, have different treatments of the story of the arrest of the former president, but all are struggling in one respect. There are no good pictures of the end of the siege.

The tabloid, Express, does best with two shots of the car driving Milosevic out of the gates of his villa and off to jail. The picture was taken from a distance.

Another tabloid, Voice, has to aid its readers by circling the shadowy figure slumped in the back.

Headline story

All the papers give the Milosevic drama massive coverage.

The front page of Blic, one of Belgrade's most popular dailies, is devoted to Milosevic in prison, with photographs of the city's central jail and an artist's impression of Slobodan's cell.

Reports say the accommodation is pretty spartan even though the governor of the prison says he will have hot water and daily visits.

Indeed, one front page quotes Milosevic's wife Mira as saying she can't spend time talking to reporters because she has to take lunch to her husband in jail.

Belgrade press
Milosevic's arrest was the front page story
Newspapers in Yugoslavia tend not to have editorial columns - opinions are expressed instead through the way stories are placed and of course by cartoons.

So there is no doubt about the view of Danas, Belgrade's Today newspaper, depicted by the award-winning cartoonist Corax. His drawing shows the scales of justice - on one side the skulls of the war dead, on the other the head of Slobodan Milosevic.

Public opinion

There is not much sympathy for the former president - except, as you would expect, in his own socialist party mouthpiece, 24 Hours.

It has a radically different take on the arrest. "The lion enters a new phase" is the headline over a story which speaks of a Nato plot, and says there is political support for Milosevic all over the world.

The paper also disputes the circumstances of the arrest, saying Milosevic volunteered to answer the charges against him.

Outside Yugoslavia, there is much interest in whether Slobodan Milosevic will eventually go for trial in The Hague. But it is not an issue dealt with in detail here.

Police at Milosevic villa
Yugoslav special police search the gatehouse at Milosevic's villa
The broadsheet Borba quotes the Yugoslav Foreign Minister as saying: "Any war crimes trial could take place in Yugoslavia."

But most of the other papers are still absorbed in the amazing events of the last couple of days.

Reports abound of an arms cache at Milosevic's villa, an underground bunker there, and claims that his daughter fired shots at the chief negotiator as the siege came to an end.

This story is certainly keeping the Belgrade press busy at the moment, and looks set to fill the city's newspapers for a long time to come.

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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
31 Mar 01 | Europe
Media confusion in Belgrade
07 Jun 00 | Europe
Nato accused of war crimes
02 Apr 01 | Europe
Belgrade's 30-hour drama
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