Serbian minister alleges anti-Serb conspiracy

BELGRADE, May 8, 2000 -- (Reuters) Serbia's Interior Minister on Sunday accused the opposition, organized students and non-government media of conspiring to destroy the Serbs.

Independent Beta news agency quoted Vlajko Stojiljkovic as saying in the central Serbian town of Valjevo that political foes of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic were "mercenaries of the NATO aggressors".

"Some political organizations, together with the so-called independent media and non-government organizations, have joined the campaign of pressures and threats that foreign enemies are conducting with the ambition to destroy the Serbs," Stojiljkovic said.

He was speaking at an opening ceremony at the construction site of a new police station in the city run by Milosevic's Socialist Party.

"But our people have seen through them. That is why they are trying to create the Otpor movement from the ranks of the criminals, drug-addicts and other fallen creatures," Beta quoted Stojiljkovic as saying.

Members and supporters of the Otpor student opposition movement have recently been involved in a series of incidents with a political background, including one in Milosevic's home town in eastern Serbia that ended in the arrest of three of them.

The opposition said it would hold a rally next Tuesday in the town of Pozarevac where Otpor said their activists were beaten up last week by men believed to be associates of Milosevic's powerful son Marko, who owns a disco and an amusement park in the town.

Police, putting the blame on the other side, arrested Otpor men and are still holding them on suspicion of attempted murder.

The mayor of Pozarevac, Dusan Antic, told the opposition on Friday it was not welcome in his town. The opposition parties are still waiting for an official response from police to their demand for the rally.

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