Blast rattles branch office of Milosevic's party
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (April 12, 2000) - An explosion rattled a branch office of President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling party, a news agency reported Wednesday.
No one was injured, but the blast shattered windows in the building and throughout the Belgrade neighborhood.
Local Socialist official Branislav Ivkovic linked the blast late Tuesday to the opposition, which has scheduled a massive rally Friday to protest Milosevic's rule and demand new elections.
Milosevic's Socialists openly revile the opposition, accusing key leaders of being traitors for maintaining ties to the West despite NATO's 78-day air war against Yugoslavia to end repression in the southern province of Kosovo.
"This is a terrorist act by those who are an extended hand of NATO," Ivkovic said.
A leading opposition party, the Democrats, condemned the explosion, and suggested the "regime may be looking for a pretext" to crack down on the opposition ahead of the major rally.
The blast was apparently caused by a piece of plastic explosive, which left a tiny crater between the sidewalk and the wall of the building where it went off, Tanjug and the independent Beta news agencies reported.
Ivkovic said that at the time of the explosion, a number of Socialist activists were in a meeting inside, but none were injured.
Meanwhile, two assailants beat opposition activist Radoje Cvetkov late Tuesday in the northern town of Novi Sad, according to the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina. The league accused the authorities of "vulgar repression."