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Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK


Patriotic Belgraders protect bridges

Serbian TV has been showing crowds of defiant Belgraders wearing target symbols and linking arms to form human chains across two of the city's main bridges.

Kosovo: Special Report
A rock concert took place on the Pancevo bridge on Thursday night, and the TV showed Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj, a hardline nationalist, mingling with the crowd.

The Yugoslav state news agency said Belgraders would form a human chain again on the Pancevo bridge on Friday night.

On the Branko bridge the crowd was heard chanting "Yugoslavia," and the TV showed them holding a huge Yugoslav flag.

Before Friday's news bulletin the TV showed shots of Yugoslav air force jets with a hard rock soundtrack.

Patriotic images

There have been regular broadcasts of patriotic images of Yugoslav soldiers and landscapes accompanied by a romantic song.

The TV has also shown pictures of a maternity hospital without a commentary - just the sound of babies crying - followed by shots of burning buildings and the noise of flames crackling.

The news bulletin began with a report on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's meeting in Belgrade on Thursday with Hungarian Workers' Party leader Gyula Thuermer.

It went on to report a statement by Gennady Seleznev, Speaker of the Russian State Duma, who quoted President Boris Yeltsin saying he supported Mr Milosevic's request to include Yugoslavia in the Russia-Belarus Union.

Mr Seleznev, who returned to Moscow from Belgrade on Thursday, was speaking to deputies in the Duma, where there have been numerous calls for Russia to provide military help to Yugoslavia.

Nato raids

The report continued with news of the latest Nato air raids and showed a devastated factory in Kragujevac. Tanjug news agency said the Zastava car factory and the town's heating plant were hit.

The TV also showed a huge oil fire in Smederevo, southeast of Belgrade. The independent Belgrade-based news agency Beta said Nato had attacked a fuel depot.

Tanjug said one missile fell in a densely populated part of Staro Selo village in Jagodina, central Serbia, but did not explode.

The agency said there were reports that ''the Nato terrorist organisation'' had fired two missiles at a Serbian radio and television transmitter on Mt Crni Vrh early on Thursday following a previous attack on the area on 6 April.

Drone shot down

Serbian TV also showed the wreckage of a Nato reconnaissance drone which it said was shot down by Yugoslav anti-aircraft fire in Kosovo.

It said the drone had been recovered and an identification plate indicated it was manufactured in Israel.

Sergeant Sasa Mitic, who reportedly downed the drone, said: ''I managed to shoot it down through sheer luck or something else.

''The distance was great, so the target kept disappearing from view, merging with the surrounding terrain and the sky."





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