Former YU president joins student movement

BELGRADE, May 11, 2000 -- (Reuters) Dobrica Cosic, former Yugoslav president and friend turned foe of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, has joined the student movement Otpor (Resistance), an Otpor member said on Wednesday.

"Mr. Cosic came in on Tuesday morning, said we were young people who think differently, and asked for an application form to join us," Pedja Lecic of Otpor told Reuters.

Cosic, a respected writer, is seen as the spiritual leader of Serbian nationalism.

He is one of the authors of a Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences memorandum blamed for an upsurge in Serbian nationalism that led to the subsequent violent breakup of former Yugoslavia in 1991.

Cosic was brought in as federal president in 1992 by Milosevic, who was Serbian president at the time, but was ousted in 1993 in a power struggle in Belgrade.

He has kept a low profile since then.

Otpor, which started out two years ago as a student movement in Serbia, has grown to around 50,000 activists and become one of the loudest opponents of Milosevic's regime. It was turned into a people's movement several months ago.

Many activists have been detained distributing leaflets or taking part in protests, including a standoff on Tuesday between them and supporters of the ruling coalition during a rally in Milosevic's home town of Pozarevac.

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