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Saturday, July 3, 1999 Published at 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK

World: Europe

Mass rally demands Milosevic resignation

Protesters in Novi Sad wave banners saying "Down with Milosevic"

Protesters demanding the resignation of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic gathered for what opposition leaders described as the biggest political demonstration ever held in Serbia's northern capital Novi Sad.

Kosovo: Special Report
The 5,000-strong demonstration in Novi Sad was organised by Serbian and Hungarian opposition groups under the slogan: "Down with Milosevic".

The BBC's Brian Hanrahan who watched the rally said speaker after speaker condemned President Milosevic's government and called for him to go, the crowd jeering at every mention of his name.

The BBC's Brian Hanrahan: "Only pressure in the street will force Milosevic to go"
Although the rally had not received official police approval - which is a legal requirement - there was no visible security presence.

But four political activists were arrested on Thursday after distributing leaflets announcing the demonstration.

Summer of protests

Novi Sad's opposition groups vowed that rallies would go on throughout the summer to demand reconstruction of the city which bore the brunt of the Nato bombing campaign.

The BBC's Brian Hanrahan: "This was a fiercely critical attack on the president"
Britain and the United States have said that Serbia will get no reconstruction aid as long as Mr Milosevic remains in power.

A rally earlier this week in Cacak attracted thousands of protesters and pensioners have marched in Belgrade calling for the resignation of Mr Milosevic and the payment of their pensions.

Shooting in Pristina

A separate rally of Kosovo Albanians in Pristina was marred by violence when two people believed to be ethnic Albanians were shot dead by British K-For troops.

Eight soldiers had been guarding a building containing 50 Serbs terrified by the celebrations, which marked the declaration of independence in Kosovo by Albanian opposition movements nine years ago.

The K-For troops said they responded after coming under automatic fire from an approaching car.

Tens of thousands of Kosovo Albanians took to the streets honking horns, beating drums, firing weapons into the air, and waving American flags and red and black Albanian flags.

The demonstrators cheered the leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army's political wing, Hashim Thaci, who led a boisterous procession through the city.

Some demonstrators burned the flags of Serbia and Yugoslavia, and some shop signs in the Serbian language were also pulled down.

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