Thousands support Serbia rally

Saturday, 27 May, 2000

More than 10,000 people have attended an anti-government rally in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, where the opposition called for a campaign of civil disobedience.
Opposition leaders accused the authorities of repression through fear, and repeated their demands for democratic elections.
Bus-loads of police arrived in the capital for the demonstration, but most of them kept out of sight at strategic locations around the city.
Opposition leader Vuk Draskovic told the crowd: "What is this evil that has been done to this city, to this country, now that there are no aggressors' bombs?"
Daily protests followed the government's take-over of Serbia's biggest independent television station Studio B on 18 May - part of a growing crackdown on dissent - but numbers of demonstrators have tailed off.
Concerted efforts to channel popular dissatisfaction against President Milosevic began last year after the country was subjected to three months of Nato air strikes over his repression of ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo province.

Major test
The BBC's Jacky Rowland in Belgrade says there are signs that people are suffering from protest fatigue and nightly meetings outside the city hall have attracted only a small turnout in recent days.
Our correspondent says the opposition has been trying hard to present a united face after months of bickering but differences in approach are emerging again with some leaders arguing that they should present clear demands for the regime along with a deadline.
The rally comes just days before an opposition delegation is due to travel to Moscow in search of support from the Russian leadership.
Their chances of securing a firm endorsement appear slim.

Original article