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The BBC's Jacky Rowland
"Under the slogan 'He's Finished' Otpor is encouraging people to vote against President Milosevic"
 real 28k

The BBC's Genc Lamani
"Mr Kouchner's response seems intended to avoid giving President Milosevic an excuse to spark yet another confrontation"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 04:26 GMT 05:26 UK
Serb police raid student movement
Otpor HQ
Otpor campaign material scattered on HQ floor
Police in Belgrade have raided the headquarters of the student-based opposition movement Otpor, removing computers and publicity material for the forthcoming elections.

Otpor - meaning Resistance - has been arranging events to support the campaign of the main opposition alliance in the run-up to the 24 September presidential and parliamentary elections.


The police have taken the people's property and they will have to give it back

Otpor lawyer Gradimir Nalic
Activists said there has also been a raid on Otpor offices in the town of Mladenovac to the south of the capital.

Otpor's slogan - "He's finished", referring to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's possible poll defeat - has become the most popular among opposition supporters.

News blackout

Plainclothes police officers broke into the office at about 1100 (0900 GMT) office without showing identity cards or a search warrant, activists said.

Slobo Yes (Freedom)
Raid "part of Milosevic's election campaign"
In recent months, the authorities have stepped up their action against Otpor, describing it as a terrorist organisation.

As well as election publicity material, the police removed computers containing press releases and information about detained activists.

Beta news agency said a truck with civilian licence plates drove off "with a large amount of propaganda material" after 1200 (1000 GMT).

Resistance

Otpor's lawyer Gradimir Nalic, who said he was in the offices at the time of the raid, said the police action was directly linked to President Milosevic's election campaign.

He's finished poster
Otpor's slogan says Milosevic is on his way out
It is the first time police have forcibly entered the group's headquarters in Belgrade, although there have been raids in the provinces.

The group says more than 100 of its members have been detained in the crackdown since the beginning of August.

"When the regime starts arresting its youth, it is the last stage of its downfall," said Borivoje Lazic, a prominent opposition politician.

Recent opinion polls suggest that the opposition has a strong campaign lead over the ruling coalition.

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See also:

31 Aug 00 | Europe
Yugoslav election 'abuse' feared
06 Jul 00 | Europe
Milosevic: No signs of bowing out
16 Jun 00 | Europe
Serbia: The politics of bloodshed
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