Local office of ruling Serbia party hit by arson

BELGRADE, Apr 16, 2000 -- (Reuters) The office of a local branch of the Yugoslav Left, a partner in Serbia's ruling coalition, was attacked by arsonists, the party said on Saturday.

It blamed the opposition for the fire at its office in Cacak, central Serbia.

"In the night of April 14 and 15 a terrorist attack was mounted on the municipal board of the Yugoslav Left in Cacak when fire was set to the entrance door," state news agency Tanjug quoted the party as saying. There was no major damage though as the blaze was contained.

The party said the idea for the attack came from an opposition rally held on Friday in Belgrade which called for early general elections to oust Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his leadership.

"The perpetrators of this terrorist act are motivated by calls of their leaders from the rally held in Belgrade yesterday under the auspices of their NATO instructors," the party said.

Earlier this week an explosion damaged a Belgrade branch of Milosevic's Socialist party, which together with the Radicals and the Yugoslav Left of his wife Mira Markovic makes up the ruling coalition in Serbia.

A Socialist official said opposition rally organizers had arranged the blast on behalf of NATO, and police blamed foreign intelligence services saying it was aimed at creating chaos ahead of Friday's opposition rally.

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