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Tuesday, May 18, 1999 Published at 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK


World: Europe

Anti-war unrest reported in Serbia

Serb soldiers on their way to the front

There have been reports of anti-war demonstrations in two southern Serbian cities.

Kosovo: Special Report
The protestors are said to have been predominently the wives and the mothers of reservists called up to serve in the Yugoslav army in Kosovo.

In Montenegro, Serbia's somewhat reluctant junior partner in the Yugoslav federation, a television station has claimed that several stones were thrown at the mayor of Krusevac, a member of the ruling Socialist Party.

Usually reliable sources in Belgrade report that a similar protest took place in the nearby town of Aleksandvrovac.

Theere the bodyguards of the town's mayor, who is also from the Socialist Party, were attacked by the crowd.

It appears the demonstrations were provoked by the return of the bodies of seven reservists from Krusevac and three from Aleksandvrovac.

Many of the reports come via the Democratic Party of Yugoslavia, which opposes the rule of President Milosevic.

The reports from the Montenegrin media speak of the mayor of Aleksandvrovac being "literally lynched."

But our correspondent in Belgrade says the severity of the violence remained unclear and the reports should be treated with caution until they can be confirmed.

The Serbian authorities are mute on the subject and Monday's demonstrations have not been reported on state television.

The Belgrade authorities maintain a firm grip on the news media.

It is likely that news of anti-government protests would be suppressed.

Demonstrations against Nato are an almost daily occurrance across Yugoslavia.





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