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Serbia: Opposition Leader Says President Provokes Violence

Belgrade, 21 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - A key Serb opposition leader again has accused President Slobodan Milosevic of trying to provoke violence in the country in order to remain in power.

Vuk Draskovic told reporters in Belgrade today that Milosevic found himself in the dilemma of either provoking a Serbian civil war or a war in the mainly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo.

Kosovo in southern Serbia remains tense after a series of violent incidents and killings in the last two weeks.

He said Milosevic had no intentions of recognizing November 17 elections results that opposition figures claim they won handily. He said that as a result, Serbia would face "tragic days."

His comments come as thousands of students continue their showdown with police in the capital Belgrade. The so-called "cordon against cordon" demonstration against police blockades entered its third day today. Taxi drivers joined the demonstration honking their horns as they blocked several roads for a time in the city center.

Police were out in force to prevent the drivers carrying out an intended blockade of city bridges.

Yesterday, police wielding truncheons cracked down on demonstrators, beating about a dozen people in the first clashes of the new year.