Sunday, October 3, 1999 Published at 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Police confront Belgrade marchers
Opposition leaders Vladan Batic, Zoran Djindjic and Cedomir Jovanovic march in Belgrade
Riot police in the Serbian capital Belgrade have pushed back around 10,000 demonstrators marching in defiance of a ban on protests.
When they reached the police lines, the demonstrators turned around and headed back towards the city centre. There were no reports of any serious clashes.
"They can try to arrest us all but I don't think they will dare do that," Goran Svilanovic said.
Opposition supporters also marched in the southern city of Nis on Saturday in spite of the protest ban, Belgrade's independent Beta news agency reported.
On Saturday, the Beta news agency carried an open letter by 45 of the country's leading intellectuals saying that if the present government remained in power, the very existence of Serbian citizens came into question.
Without mentioning President Milosevic by name, their letter amounted to a demand for the end of his regime, and full support for the opposition groups.
More violence expected
Earlier this week, rallies turned violent when police in full riot gear attacked protesters, using tear gas, batons and water cannon - injuring dozens.
The former chief commander of the Yugoslav Army, General Momcilo Perisic, who has joined the pro-democracy movement, warned that President Milosevic might try to use even more force to crack down on opponents.
He "will certainly try to use all means, including use of the army" against the opposition, General Perisic said.
The general said he thought a majority of the officers would not comply with possible orders to unleash force against the protesters.
There has been a concerted effort to show the strength of the opposition feeling over the past week. However the protests are nowhere near as big as the major pro-democracy rallies three years ago.
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