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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Milosevic Foes Plan Further Protests

BELGRADE -- Foes of President Slobodan Milosevic, anticipating he will have to reinstate their election victory in Belgrade, pledged Friday to keep up the pressure until he gives up other major cities or quits.


The Serbian Supreme Court was considering an appeal that apparently was aimed at defusing the opposition's largest and most determined protests against Milosevic since he took over in Serbia in 1987.


A decision was expected soon, perhaps Saturday, on a legal appeal that could hand control of the capital Belgrade to the opposition. It would be the opposition's first major victory over Milosevic, and the first time since the end of World War II that the capital has not been ruled by Communists or their successors.


Even though such a decision was not assured, opposition leaders were thinking about their next moves.


Another 100,000 people gathered in Belgrade on Friday. Protests have been held daily for almost three weeks since opposition victories in local elections were annulled by courts Milosevic controlled.


Mirko Mihajlovic, a lawyer for the opposition Democratic Party, said he expected the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the opposition.


Winning Belgrade was not enough, said Zoran Djindjic of the Democratic Party. The opposition wanted its election victories in Serbia's second-biggest city, Nis, and in the city of Kraljevo also reinstated, he said.


"There will be no compromise. Nis, Belgrade and Kraljevo are a package, and we will not give up until everything is given back to us,'' Djindjic said. He said the opposition's final aim was to topple Milosevic peacefully.


There were more signs of dissatisfaction with Milosevic, and the elections, on Friday.


Faced with tough criticism for the shutting down of two Belgrade independent radio stations, Serbian Information Minister Alexander Tijanic quit.


Tijanic, formerly a popular journalist, said he disagreed with "decisions being made without consulting me.''


Serbia's tiny co-republic in Yugoslavia, Montenegro, distanced itself from Milosevic. It said the annulment of elections was "absolutely undemocratic.''


But even if their victory was confirmed in Belgrade, it seemed doubtful that the opposition could keep up the enthusiastic rallies in support of reformers in other cities.


The opposition is wearing itself out trying to win back what Milosevic took away. Although it was clear that Milosevic had underestimated the opposition's ability to organize by invalidating the local elections, it was equally clear that his regime was not in immediate danger of collapsing.


Even if he gives up Belgrade, Milosevic can make it nearly impossible for the opposition to reform the city.


Serbia's biggest problems are economic, and the economy still is controlled by the national structure loyal to Milosevic.