CEOL
Thousands attend opposition rally in Serbia

RAVNA GORA,, May 14, 2000 -- (Reuters) About 20,000 Yugoslav opposition supporters gathered on Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of the Chetnik uprising against Nazi German occupiers in World War Two.

Vuk Draskovic, leader of the biggest opposition Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), was greeted by loud cheers and a volley of fire from hand and artillery weapons, to which he responded: "Save your ammunition".

SPO supporters dressed as Serbian monarchist guerrillas fired an old wooden cannon at the site where the seat of the World War Two monarchist guerrilla movement was formed on Mt. Ravna Gora near Valjevo, 120 km (75 miles) south of Belgrade.

Draskovic said the current Yugoslav government would be ousted in elections, but only if they were democratic and if the terror against the people, media, judiciary and students ended.

"As of today, we will not be defending ourselves only with rallies, speeches and statements, but by all possible means," Draskovic said.

He repeated accusations against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, his wife Mirjana Markovic of the Yugoslav Left and Vojislav Seselj of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party of responsibility for the deaths of four SPO officials in a mysterious car crash on the Ibar highway in October last year.

The authorities have denied any involvement in the accident, in which Draskovic himself was injured.

Draskovic called on the army and police to join the people and refuse to obey the current state authorities.

At the end of the rally, Draskovic joined in a chorus of Chetnik songs.

Several other leaders of the recently united opposition were present, including Dusan Mihajlovic of New Democracy, once a member of the ruling coalition, and Christian Democratic Party leader Vladan Batic.

The rally, traditionally organized by the SPO, was not held last year because of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia over Belgrade's repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province.



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