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Friday, 6 October, 2000, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Timeline of an uprising
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's fall from power, when it came, happened with stunning speed in one tumultuous day of mass protest. BBC News Online traces the key moments of that day and the weeks leading up to it:

Constitutional change (6 July)
Serbia's Uprising
With one year of his term of office left, Mr Milosevic decides to change the way the Yugoslav president is elected, so that future presidents are elected by a direct vote of the people, not parliament.

Analysts predict the move will secure him at least another four years in power.

Election called (27 July)
President Milosevic ends weeks of speculation and calls the election for 24 September, secure in the feeling that he will be re-elected.

Opposition unites (1 Sep)
Overcoming years of divisive squabbling, the Yugoslav opposition forms an 18-party alliance known as the Democratic Opposition of Serbia. They choose Vojislav Kostunica, a 56-year-old constitutional lawyer as their presidential candidate, who is untainted by allegations of corruption or of being a pro-western stooge.

Opposition buoyant (20 Sep)
Opinion polls show Mr Kostunica leading despite the constant stream of pro-Milosevic propaganda being pumped out by state-controlled radio and television. The opposition is virtually banned from the airwaves and takes its campaign directly to the people at street rallies throughout Serbia.

Election day (24 Sep)
Mr Milosevic bans international observers from monitoring the elections. In Montenegro, Serbia's junior partner in the Yugoslav Federation, calls by the pro-Western government, for the election to be boycotted are widely heeded.

Opposition claims victory (25 Sep)
The opposition claims victory, saying it has won 55% of the votes. Vojislav Kostunica describes the result as a new dawn for Serbia and declares himself the "peoples' president".

The result (26 Sep)
Yugoslavia's Federal Election Commission calls for a second ballot, saying neither candidate won an outright majority. It claims Mr Kostunica won 48% of the vote compared to Mr Milosevic's 40%.

Mass protests (27 Sep)
Hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters take to the streets of Belgrade and other cities to demand that President Milosevic stand down.

General strike (2 Oct)
A general strike begins in Serbia. Schools are closed and roads blocked. Miners once fiercely loyal to Mr Milosevic stop work in a major show of support for the opposition. Mr Milosevic issues a defiant message, saying he has no intention of standing down before a second round of voting.

Miners defiant (4 Oct)
Police raid the Kolubara coal mine, 40 km south of Belgrade. As they attempt to arrest protesters, Vojislav Kostunica goes to Kolubara and receives a hero's welcome from thousands of supporters there as the general strike bites countrywide.

But Yugoslavia's constitutional court annuls the election results and says Mr Milosevic should serve out his last year in office and call new elections in 2001. The opposition rejects the court's findings.

Uprising (5 Oct)
Furious at the constitutional manoeuvring and with the prospect of a second round of the election looming, the opposition set a deadline of 1500 hours local time on Thursday 5 October for Mr Milosevic to give up power. They called for a mass rally in the centre of Belgrade to back up their demands:

  • 0700 hours: At dawn, convoys of thousands of farmers, miners and other opposition supporters from towns and cities across Serbia form long columns and begin to converge on Belgrade, some breaking through police roadblocks.

  • 1230 hours: Tens of thousands of opposition supporters in Belgrade clash with police guarding the parliament building. Live rounds are fired into the air and teargas is used. Protesters with streaming eyes and choking throats temporarily disperse, while thousands more continue to flood into the capital.

  • 1500 hours: The 3pm deadline set by the opposition for Mr Milosevic to give up power passes with no word of the whereabouts of the soon-to-be-deposed president.

  • 1600 hours: Parliament is captured by protesters after they surge up the assembly steps, overwhelming the police in front of them. TV pictures show one policeman being welcomed with an embrace into the opposition ranks. Others guarding the building either flee in fear of their lives or hand over their arms and join the opposition. Parts of the building are ransacked and set on fire.

  • 1700 hours: Angry protesters turn their attention to the headquarters of the hated state television service. A fierce gun battle ensues but soon the screens go blank and the TV building is set on fire. Transmissions resume later under the banner of "New Radio Television Serbia".

  • 1830 hours: Vojislav Kostunica addresses a rally of half a million supporters from the balcony of Belgrade City Hall. He says Serbia has been liberated, and declares himself proud to have been elected "President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."

  • 1930 hours Jubilant pro-democracy supporters take control of the centre of Belgrade. Dancing and singing for joy, they can hardly believe that having been ruled for 13 years by Slobodan Milosevic, he is forced from office in a mere 12 hours.

At The Hague

Still wanted



See also:

06 Oct 00 | Europe
07 Oct 00 | Europe
07 Oct 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
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