Humiliation for Milosevic as protesters march on his home

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The embattled Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, suffered further humiliation as he clung to power yesterday, when police in full riot gear sent to confront protesting students marching on his residence in Belgrade joined the demonstrators briefly and marched among them.

The embattled Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, suffered further humiliation as he clung to power yesterday, when police in full riot gear sent to confront protesting students marching on his residence in Belgrade joined the demonstrators briefly and marched among them.

"We are not killers, are we?" one policeman asked. The extraordinary decision to step back from confrontation with the students came as defections from the state's bureaucracy, the security forces, and the media continued to multiply.

Opposition rallies and strikes continued across Serbia. But police reluctance to act against demonstrators was as notable as the isolated acts of violence.

Branko Ilic, of the student-based Otpor (Resistance) movement who led the Belgrade demonstrators, said: "The good thing that happened today is that police did not apply force against us although they were ordered to." The loyalty of senior officers is not thought to be in doubt but in the ranks the mood appears to have altered.

At Serbia's biggest mine, the Kolubara mine south of Belgrade, thousands remained on strike and soldiers could be seen in the crowd of strikers applauding opposition leaders

In what could be the most devastating blow of all to the crumbling regime, the state media showed signs of revolt. Dozens of journalists and technical staff in several newspapers and the state-owned television networks signed petitions demanding immediate changes in their "heavily biased editorial policies".

Comments