Serb police arrest oppositionists over soccer game

BELGRADE, Jun 23, 2000 -- (Reuters) Serbian police detained 20 opposition activists, two reporters and local politician on Thursday when they tried to stage a football match in the central town of Kragujevac, independent news agency Beta said.

Organized by the student-based Otpor (Resistance) and dubbed "Milosevic vs Milosevic", the game was to be played between two teams, one named after Yugoslav national team striker Savo Milosevic, the top scorer of Euro 2000 so far, and the other after Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

A correspondent of the independent daily Blic, a local television reporter and the leader of the opposition Sumadija coalition were taken into custody after they tried to organize the match, Beta said.

About 30 Otpor activists gathered in front of the Kragujevac police station to demand the release of their comrades.

Yugoslav Serb authorities have branded Otpor a "fascist-terrorist" organization and police have arrested scores of its activists across Serbia over the past few months, usually holding them a short time and then releasing them.

Otpor, like other Serbian opposition groupings labeled as lackeys of Western powers, denies terrorism and says it is committed to democratic reform by peaceful means only.

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