Belgrade police detain 16 opposition activists

BELGRADE, Jul 10, 2000 -- (Reuters) Police detained 16 activists of the student-based Otpor opposition movement at an event in Belgrade on Sunday, an activist said.

"Four of them have been released after questioning and the others are still in the police station," Vukasin Petrovic told Reuters.

They were arrested after a soccer match between all-male and all-female teams to launch a campaign for the resignation of the head of the Yugoslav Football Federation after Yugoslavia's poor performance at the Euro 2000 tournament.

Otpor, which says it seeks non-violent political change, has organized actions across Serbia aimed at ridiculing the government by mimicking its ceremonies and propaganda events.

About a dozen activists of Otpor, which means Resistance, gathered in front of the police station in a Belgrade suburb to await the release of the remaining 12 detainees, Petrovic said.

Activists said a police source had told them he expected the 12 to be freed later on Sunday.

The authorities have frequently arrested Otpor activists during or after their actions, usually releasing them after a few hours of "informative talks". Otpor has said over 400 activists were arrested in May and June.

Serbian Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic last month called Otpor a "terrorist-fascist" organization financed by the West.

Original article