CEOL
Kostunica draws 20 000 supporters in West Serbia

CACAK, Sep 9, 2000 -- (Reuters) Some 20,000 people rallied in the western Serbian town of Cacak on Friday in support of the main opposition challenger to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in this month's elections.

"They insulted you and you need to exact your revenge," Vojislav Kostunica, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) bloc candidate, told the crowd.

Residents said it was the biggest ever crowd to attend an opposition rally in Cacak, which has a population of 50,000.

"The (September) 24th is a day for revenge - not their kind of revenge, but rather in our way - with your pencil and your vote (for) the truth - not lies," Kostunica said.

As he walked towards the stage, people surged towards him, slapping him on the back and trying to shake his hand.

Cacak, locally ruled by Serbia's opposition, was the site of the first anti-Milosevic rally in July 1999, barely a month after the end of NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia over its Kosovo policies. The rally drew some 10,000 people.

Milosevic called Yugoslav presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as local polls in Serbia, for September 24, but many opposition figures fear he may declare victory even if he loses the ballot.

Opinion polls give Kostunica a firm lead over Milosevic.

"After 60 years, the truth and justice must now be on our side," Kostunica told the crowd, referring to the 50 years of communist rule in Serbia and the last decade under Milosevic.



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